Litl, the explictly social webbook, for the living room

November 14th, 2009
by jodi

The litl is a $695 ‘webbook’ with a 2-year money-back guarantee. via Scott Janousek1

cc licensed flickr photo shared by litl

The company is selling the litl as the no-fuss way to get online at home. It reminds me of the olpc more than anything I’ve seen:

  • “practically sunlight readable” screen
  • explicitly social (more below)
  • has a handle
  • converts to an easel
  • its own new, linux-based Litl OS
  • keyboard changes and simplification: “We’ve eliminated the inscrutable function keys and buttons with weird symbols. We also took out the cap locks key, which everyone uses only by mistake.” They’ve also added a ‘Litl button’ to get back to the home screen.
  • everything is always full screen2
  • 3 pounds
  • sturdy: only moving part is a small fan

It’s also something of an ambient information device, with focus on viewing rather than typing, and ‘distracted interaction’.

Like the chumby, litl is

  • invites others to build widgets
  • advertises itself as a clock
  • has channels (which can be synced with the other lidls)
  • unusual navigation (in litl’s case: a roller-wheel and remote control)
  • has upgraded packaging

Marketing is snazzy, with a lot of thought into packaging, including card illustrations by David Macaulay (flickr) (company blog post).

cc licensed flickr photo shared by litl

Litl has a strong social media presence. For instance, they advertise their minimalist packaging with a company-made unboxing video:

litl webbook unboxing from litl on Vimeo.

Aside from the company website, the most detailed information is from Wade Roush‘s xconomy Boston review.

In place of a desktop, the Webbook has a home screen that displays up to 12 boxes that Chuang calls “Web cards.” Some represent Web pages, others represent RSS feeds, and still others represent widgets or “channels” that are the Webbook’s closest thing to native applications—for example, there’s an egg timer widget for use in the kitchen and a Weather Channel widget that shows the temperature outdoors.

The litl is explicitly social: “By linking multiple litls, you can synchronize channels automatically.”
A ‘share’ button also pushes the current content to another Litl.

Convenience features

  1. Scott is a Boston-based flash developer I first discovered when following the chumby. Scott has started his own blog devoted to the litl, which, like the chumby, uses widgets. More details from his regular blog. []
  2. well, except that you get 12 widgets on the homescreen []

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