A few years ago, there was a device called a Chumby, which was a tiny, cute connected screen that showed you weather and New York Times headlines and played Pandora and things like that. It died not too long ago, but the spirit lives on in LaMetric, a simpler, but ultimately more powerful, device currently on Kickstarter.
LaMetric’s Kickstarter page puts a huge emphasis on this device being used for business purposes. It even refers to it as a version of a stock ticker. That’s fine, I guess, but it has potential much beyond that. It’s a rectangular block, shaped kind of like a Jawbone Jambox, with a heavily pixelated (in a stylish, Lite-Brite kind of way) LCD display. It’s connected to the Internet, so you can do any number of things with it–check the weather, hook it into your email and get alerts, hook it into your to-do-list app and see what you’re supposed to be doing, hook it into your calendar for meeting reminders, or use it for smart fitness apps like the 7-Minute Workout or CrossFit apps.
It has a couple of cool features we haven’t seen elsewhere. For one, you can line multiple LaMetrics up together, end to end, and they’ll automatically combine powers so instead of having several shortish LaMetric, you have one very long LaMetric. It syncs with an app for your phone, but even more cool, it syncs with your computer. If your LaMetric lights up and says hey, you have a new email, you can press a button on the top and it’ll trigger your computer to automatically load your email.
One version of the LaMetric will be battery-powered, so you can pop it anywhere. And of course, it’ll have an open API, so any developer is welcome to connect their app to it. And if it hits a certain goal of funding, the team will add features–one we’re excited about is internet radio, so we New Yorkers can have the built-in speaker wake us up to Hot 97 in the mornings.
I’m not sure if LaMetric will survive where Chumby couldn’t, but LaMetric looks really nice and does some interesting things. As an alarm clock? It’d be stellar. I just hope LaMetric figures out how to market it not as some kind of vague app thing but as a gadget with a identifiable purpose.