At the same time, CubeSats are getting smarter. This 10cm-cube may hold just a radio beacon (a common first endeavor for an educational institution,) It may have a web camera (one I worked on for my company had a camera included). Or it may have very sophisticated scientific instruments. Agencies like NASA are making use of these satellites to supplement more expensive missions.
Morehead State University's CXBN-2 is a good example of a sophisticated 3U CubeSat. In a space the size of a breadloaf (plus unfolding solar panels) it packs instruments to measure the Cosmic X-Ray Background of the universe. The first dedicated X-ray astronomy satellite, Uhuru, launched in 1973 and was considered a very small satellite with a dry mass over 145kg. The CBXN-2 weighs 5.7.
Smaller and smarter - it's happening in space. Ad budgets tighten, more agencies will be looking to use these little wonders on planetary and even interplanetary missions.
The top end of CubeSats' NASA's 6U SkyFire lunar imager