The Chumby seems to be an intriguing artifact expected to be released in 2007:
a compact device that can act like a clock radio, but is way more flexible and fun. It uses the wireless internet connection you already have to fetch cool stuff from the web: music, the latest news, box scores, animations, celebrity gossip...whatever you choose. And a chumby can exchange photos and messages with your friends.
Looking at the product history is quite interesting, I highlighted the aspects I found relevant:
Chumby is different. The chumby was not created in the design department of some big consumer electronics company. (...) We made it all up. Chumby Industries was formed by hackers who wanted to create something interesting, useful and different. (...) What we decided to build was a really low-cost, wireless (WiFi), Internet-connected device that will sit on your bedside table (or in your bathroom, or kitchen, or living room, or maybe even plug into your car somehow...) that could do a lot more than this old clock radio. (...) We also decided that the chumby would be different because it will be “open and hackable.” If you happen to be another card-carrying hacker, you can blow off the warranty, pull out its electronic guts and reprogram it. If you're more of a "crafter," we're providing patterns so you can give your chumby a new skin. You can sew on patches, attach enameled pins, bury it in glue and glitter; whatever you want to do to personalize it. If you're a Flash artist, we hope you'll use chumby as a sort of always-open art gallery for your coolest stuff. (...) The chumby is designed to let you stay connected to your Internet life in locations where it might be fun and convenient. (...) We've now built a few hundred and and are in the process of getting feedback from early users, mostly hackers and artists. We want to learn what people think of chumby, and how they'd like to use it or collaborate to make the world a chumbier place.
Why do I blog this? I like the way this device goes beyond the "communicating object" paradigme (exemplified by the Nabaztag) by expanding the use of information flows (pictures for instance) and taking into account crafting/hacking issue.