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Chumby rises from the dead: smart alarm clock relaunches with 1,000 apps

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The service is back for a $3 monthly subscription

What if your alarm clock told you jokes, streamed Pandora radio, and let you keep a little electronic pet? Chumby, the smart alarm clock that launched in the 2000s, has struggled to remain relevant in the age of ubiquitous smartphones. It tried to make a go of it as a smart TV platform, then went open source and all but shut down. But now, it's back.

"After a year-long hiatus, the Chumby Service has finally been completely restored," writes Duane Maxwell, former vice president of software at Chumby who relaunched the company under the name Blue Octy. "The new service is a nearly complete rewrite of the original service — it's been brought up to date with newer technologies and made faster and more efficient than ever."

Chumby offers more than 1,000 apps for a $3 monthly subscription, though the company's not above begging for donations. If you already own the device, you can get access to music and other built-in features for free. All user accounts have been restored.

It'll be a challenge to make the case for Chumby considering smartphones and tablets do the same thing. However, Chumby has its own very permissive app store, which is attractive for tinkerers, and a small but dedicated community of developers who want to save it.