The first three days of the 2011 CES International were full of amazing and intriguing product announcements; historic keynote speeches and presentations; and a good portion of the over 2,000 gadget and electronics manufacturers. Hundreds of gadgets have already been announced, and some of the most interesting are yet to come on this last full day of the event.
Some of the most interesting so far have been the numerous tablet PCs that debuted on the first day, Jan. 6, 2011. However, one gadget that caught my eye was the Chumby App Player, nicknamed Chumby8, and it debuted Saturday night.
The Chumby8′ design appears very similar to a tablet PC and it is also Wi-Fi enabled, as tablet PCs are. It is also quite different from its older models, which were much smaller and appeared much like alarm clocks. The Opus also features an 8-inch LCD touchscreen with an 800 pixel by 600 pixel resolution. The processor is a Marvell Amada 166, and it features tons of flash storage-2 GB worth.
This new Chumby is only in its prototype stage, so all the features promised by its manufacturer were not present to use at the showing. However, these features will certainly be available once the product is released on the consumer market. Some of these promised features include microphone input abilities and stereo speaker options.
The Differences Between Designs
The Chumby8 also offers the same capabilities of the two older models, the original Chumby and the Chumby One, both of which were advertised as Wi-Fi enabled alarm clocks. They featured touchscreens that were much smaller than the Opus’, and, at only 3.5-inch touchscreen, it wasn’t much to look at. The Chumby One also streamed audio over the Wi-Fi network, but the mono speakers did not do the model justice. Additionally, it was severely overpriced; at $119, consumers would have done better purchasing a basic digital alarm clock and presetting their favorite radio station-or purchasing a much cheaper version with a CD player.
So What Makes the Chumby8 So Great?
What’s so great about an “alarm clock?” It is not just an alarm clock anymore; it is an app player, that’s what. The best part about the new Chumby8 is the fact that it can run over 1,500 applications-without need for specific operating systems such as Android OS or iOS. It can run apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and others, and it includes the basic alarm clock functionality as well. It can also run e-mail applications and video streaming apps-what other alarm clock can do that? While there is no set price for the Chumby8 as of yet, the manufacturer promised that when it finally reaches the consumer market, it would be priced similarly to the Chumby One.
Devices that can cross-play applications without regard for operating systems are perfect app players-and can end up saving consumers a lot of money. According to the Chumby website, the Chumby can do everything a computer can do, and because it is Internet connected, users do not have to be in front of the computer to do it. Will I purchase one? Maybe: If it truly plays all the apps it says it does, I just might.