Chumby vs. Nabaztag
I remember when I was a kid, there were certain toys that had names which seemed absolutely familiar and obvious to me but which my parents thought were laughable. "What's a popple? A Garbage Pail Kid? A Transformer?" My parents would struggle to keep up with the latest trends. And even though I am usually on top of the new gadgets that are coming out, I often feel that way today - like I am struggling as my parents once did to keep up. Sure, I console myself with the belief that products come out more quickly these days, especially in the tech toy channel. But it still bugs me when I find myself asking, "what's a Chumby? Have you heard of a Nabaztag?"
Since I don't want to be stuck in the technological dark, I do my research into these things as soon as I find out about them. Which is why I know that the Chumby and the Nabaztag are both Internet toys that can constantly funnel information and entertainment to you. Okay, so I know my basics. But what about the details - what are the differences between the two items and is there a better one to buy? Or even a need to buy either of them? Delving deeper into the research, here's what I know:
Both the Chumby and the Nabaztag are relatively new items which are just starting to hit the market in North America. They are small devices that can be used to replace certain household items (such as alarm clocks and mp3 players). But more importantly, they serve the function of being constantly connected to the internet to feed you information of your choosing. Basically, let's say that you use RSS feeds and a notifier on your computer to stay immediately aware of updates to your favorite blogs, news sites and other best pages. Then, let's say that you could take that and put it into a handheld device so that you never have to be out of touch (as long as you're within a Wi-Fi area). That's the function of both of these items.
So, what are the differences then? After all, you certainly don't need both a Chumby and a Nabaztag and you want to get the better of the two so you want to know why to choose one over the other right? They start (and mostly stay) at a very superficial level. The Nabaztag is a rabbit-shaped device which looks cartoonish and is probably best for junior high kids and the people who work at Google. In contrast, the Chumby (despite its silly name) is a lot more boring in appearance. Boring, but professional, so if you simply can't be without your toy, this is the one to bring to the office.
So what about cost? Well, the Chumby costs about $180 and there are no additional costs after the purchase. The Nabaztag is a comparable price. However, it comes with addition features which you can purchase via a monthly subscription. These features are likely to be continually updated over time, so if you want to foot the bill, it might be worth the cost. However, these features mean that you'll spend a significant amount of time on the Nabaztag website. Maybe that doesn't matter to you but if you're looking for a gadget that's going to get you away from the computer, then this seems kind of backwards.
In the end, it doesn't really look like either the Chumby or the Nabaztag is a definitively better choice. There are users who say definitively that the Chumby is a watered down version of the Nabaztag because it offers the same features but less of them. And then there are some users who say that the Chumby gives you what you need within a more professional, adult appearance. So perhaps it just depends on your age. Just be glad that you even know what they are!