Is the litl webbook a netbook?

by havoc

We’ve had lots of great comments on the litl webbook (see here and here for samples). Some discussion
about whether a “webbook” is really different from a “netbook.” Here’s
why litl webbook is not a netbook.

  • litl OS is completely different from Windows 7. You can’t
    even run Windows or Linux very well on the litl because our custom
    hardware is missing legacy keys and ports. litl OS is entirely
    managed, all state stored online, with web apps and channels
    only.
  • No hard drive. And you don’t need one. There’s no way in
    litl OS to even see how much disk space you have, because in litl OS
    disk space gets used like a web browser cache. You never manually
    create or delete anything. The hard drive size affects how often we’ll
    get a cache hit. Otherwise, who cares. Web apps don’t store files on
    the hard drive.
  • Comes with online storage and services. litl OS syncs its
    state to the server, supports sharing any card (web page or channel)
    to anyone in your friends network, and has a friends network integrated
    into the OS. Backup and sharing are built-in, trivial, and automatic.
    There’s no subscription fee.
  • litl webbook is a fabulous photo frame. It has a
    nicer screen and nicer software than this
    $650 frame
    for example. Family and friends can share new
    slideshows directly to your litl webbook, which will show all your own
    photos and those shared with you in one big slideshow. (Or add channels
    with just one album, if you like.) Deep integration with photo
    services you already use means you don’t have to do anything special
    to see photos on the litl. Most photo frames end up in the closet
    because loading new photos is a manual process. With the litl webbook,
    your family members post new photos and they appear as a channel
    on your litl. No work to do.
  • litl’s build quality and design blow away netbooks. Most
    netbooks are “cranked out,” with the engineering done in a few months
    with an eye to minimal cost. litl’s engineering was highly refined
    over time, with an eye to quality, ease-of-use, and aesthetics.
  • Screen size and quality. Only one or two netbooks have a
    screen as large as the litl webbook’s, and none have a screen with the
    same brightness or viewing angle. The litl’s screen quality enables
    “lean back” mode with photos and channels.
  • Mobility within the home. The usual use-case for a netbook
    is travel. We designed the litl to live at home. That’s why it has a
    larger screen, and displays useful and attractive channels when you
    leave it sitting around house.
  • Hardware/software integration. The software is finely-tuned
    to the hardware, and the flippable hardware inspires one of litl OS’s core
    features, that it’s both “desktop” and “media center” all in one
    smoothly-integrated UI. The litl “look” spans the beautiful packaging,
    hardware, and software.
  • 100% legacy-free. No caps lock. HDMI, not VGA. etc.
  • Amazing guarantee. litl’s
    included warranty
    is better than the service plans you have to pay
    extra for when you buy a netbook.

Here’s how litl webbook is like a netbook:

  • It uses an Atom processor. litl webbook uses Atom because
    it makes the webbook smaller, lighter, thinner, and quieter; not to
    mention more efficient, saving some trees.

Here’s my question: when you go shopping for a cell phone or set-top
box, is your first question which CPU it runs? Would you choose iPhone
vs. Blackberry based on which one had the fastest CPU clock? Or would
you instead first look at what the device does, and in
particular look at the details of the hardware and software experience?

Fast
Company
says

But litl isn’t selling hardware specs; they’re selling a stone-cold brilliant design. And to appreciate it, you have to be able to play with the device.

But for now, litl is only being sold online. And therein lies the
problem. Without handling it, you’ll never appreciate the thoroughness
of the design language–the scroll wheel on the laptop, echoed in the
scroll wheel of the remote; the perfectly weighted hinge which doubles
as a handle and hides the battery; the sturdiness of the case; the
brightness of the screen; the way the packaging and branding looks
domestic but not quite feminine; or even the fact that when the power
pack is plugged in, a tiny, embedded LED illuminates the dot of the
‘”i” in “litl”

(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2009-11.html#13)

My Twitter account is @havocp.
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