Chumby Industries is launching its mobile browsing and discovery app on Android devices today. The app is a portal to a bunch of apps that you can view on web-connected picture frames or clock radios. The aim is to get the app on all of the newfangled gadgets such as tablets, car entertainment systems, TVs, and other household gadgets.
That means more and more ordinary household gadgets will be connected to the web and will offer all kinds of information.
The app is available on the Android Market for $4.99 and represents the San Diego company’s attempt to focus on software rather than hardware. The Android launch is one of a number of deals coming up where Chumby’s software runs on a variety of hardware platforms. The goal is to get Chumby’s software in front of a lot more eyeballs, said the company’s chief executive Derrick Oien (pictured).
Chumby gadgets include the Sony Dash, an internet-enabled alarm clock that lets you wake up to music from music sites such as Pandora. The Chumby software runs on top of Linux and lets users personalize it to their own tastes. You can use it to passively browse slide shows, photo sharing sites, tweets, status updates, stock quotes, video clips, webcams, horoscopes and more. There are 1,500 Flash-based applications running on Chumby in 30 different categories. Developers can create third-party apps that run within the Chumby app.
Chumby brought in Oien four months ago as part of a plan to make a comeback. A year ago, the Sony Dash (pictured right, top) debuted with Chumby software, and the company also partnered with Best Buy to launch a line of Insignia-branded connected products, including the Infocast Internet Media Display (pictured right, bottom), which is a photo frame that comes in two sizes. Oien also showed Chumby running on a Dell Streak Android device. But the devices haven’t sold that well.
By the end of this year, Oien expects about 100,000 Chumby devices to be in consumers’ hands. The goal for the next year is more ambitious, with a target of 1 million devices. Chumby was founded in 2005 and has raised $26.5 million to date. Investors include Avalon Ventures, JK&B Capital, Masthead Venture Partners, Marvell, and O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures. Chumby’s founders included Andrew “bunnie” Huang, a hacker who became famous for circumventing the security of the original Xbox, and Ken Steele. Huang is the company’s head of engineering. Chumby has 30 employees.
The company raised $3 million in convertible debt in September, and Oien said he will decide soon whether to raise more money.