Linked by David Adams on Wed 30th Dec 2009 05:33 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems OSNews reviews the Litl Webbook, an Atom mini-notebook with an innovative convertible form-factor and a custom, web-centric Linux-based OS. (Includes video review). Update: Turns out that Havoc Pennington, proponent of the Gnome Online Desktop, now works at Litl. No coincidence.
Order by: Score:
Minor correction
by jdhopeunique on Wed 30th Dec 2009 06:00 UTC
jdhopeunique
Member since:
2009-12-30

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/with_bated_breath

It is with bated breath, not baited.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Minor correction
by David on Wed 30th Dec 2009 06:07 UTC in reply to "Minor correction"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Thanks. How careless of me!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Minor correction
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 30th Dec 2009 17:49 UTC in reply to "Minor correction"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I can't speak for David, but my breath is lined with salmon filled bear traps.

Reply Score: 3

Okay
by strcpy on Wed 30th Dec 2009 06:34 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20


Now, we're all following the news of Google Chrome with bated breath, largely because we know that Google has the resources and the talent to get the experience right, and if they succeed, it will open the floodgates to inexpensive, user-friendly Linux-based computing for the masses. But while we're all waiting to see what Google comes out with, other people are already there. One of these is Litl.


Okay, but the keyword here is Linux-based. In another words, there is very little "Linux" in Google Chrome.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) also this dashes the hopes of seeing "Linux" on netbooks.

Even the word "webbook" implies a scary prediction for the future where the issues involving privacy, DRM, and operating systems are all embedded in the same space.

Edited 2009-12-30 06:37 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Okay
by vivainio on Wed 30th Dec 2009 09:47 UTC in reply to "Okay"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

Okay, but the keyword here is Linux-based. In another words, there is very little "Linux" in Google Chrome.


There's much more Linux on Chrome OS and Litl than in, say, Android. Any contributions targeted at improving Chrome OS will directly benefit Linux.

To get back on topic, the most interesting thing about Litl is probably their extensive use of Javascript for desktop programming; you can read up on that and more at

http://cananian.livejournal.com/

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Okay
by strcpy on Wed 30th Dec 2009 10:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Okay"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


Any contributions targeted at improving Chrome OS will directly benefit Linux.


I am little lost.

When Google develops the main platform of Chrome OS -- web-based closed proprietary Google apps and related services -- this benefits Linux how? When people use Google docs instead of OpenOffice or Abiword, Linux will benefit how? Where are exactly Google's big contributions to the community?

Or could it be that you just see this through rosy glasses as there is the word Linux involved? "With Linux you can not do wrong even if you do wrong things via it and for it".

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Okay
by vivainio on Wed 30th Dec 2009 11:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Okay"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


When Google develops the main platform of Chrome OS -- web-based closed proprietary Google apps and related services -- this benefits Linux how?


In order for hardware to work with Chrome OS, you need to have Linux drivers for everything (and since it uses X, graphics needs to work with Linux as well). This is an incentive to OEMs.

Likewise, improvements to Chrome-the-browser are directly usable on Linux desktop.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Okay
by strcpy on Wed 30th Dec 2009 17:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Okay"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


In order for hardware to work with Chrome OS, you need to have Linux drivers for everything (and since it uses X, graphics needs to work with Linux as well). This is an incentive to OEMs.


Except that -- and mark my words for this -- I am willing to bet that once Google maintains that proper stable kernel API/ABI, you get more binary blobs, not drivers and code to be merged to the Linux kernel.

No, sir, this one will not try to support every piece of hardware there is.

Mark my words also when I say that things like Intel Pulsbo are going to be supported, but no, not in the terms you and I like.

Healthy skepticism, that's what I'm asking. And that's what is really need in the tech-world.


Likewise, improvements to Chrome-the-browser are directly usable on Linux desktop.


This I can believe.

Edited 2009-12-30 17:07 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Okay
by cb_osn on Wed 30th Dec 2009 12:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Okay"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

I am little lost.

When Google develops the main platform of Chrome OS -- web-based closed proprietary Google apps and related services -- this benefits Linux how? When people use Google docs instead of OpenOffice or Abiword, Linux will benefit how? Where are exactly Google's big contributions to the community?

As long as you view Linux as a window manager with a desktop metaphor running on top of X and providing conventional office suites, the results will always be disappointing. Windows owns that market and always will. It's not a bad thing. That paradigm basically reached a pinnacle with XP which is why we're seeing very little movement from that OS to others including the newer offerings from Microsoft.

Contributing to the conventional parts of the Linux desktop is respectable and it helps to provide something usable for people wanting alternatives to Windows right now, but it does very little to push Linux forward in the grand scheme of things. GNOME, KDE, Fluxbox, OpenOffice, Abiword, etc. are fine pieces of software, but they are simply not going to be drivers for success.

What things like ChromeOS and the Litl are doing is trying to provide something different-- to open people up to the possibility that there are better ways to interact with a computer than desktops, windows and file hierarchies. This is where Linux truly has a chance to shine and I find these things exciting.

Reply Score: 9

RE[4]: Okay
by strcpy on Wed 30th Dec 2009 17:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Okay"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Let me repeat: I am little lost.


That paradigm basically reached a pinnacle with XP which is why we're seeing very little movement from that OS to others including the newer offerings from Microsoft.


This argument is too easy to debut by pointing out that Windows 7 is selling well.


Contributing to the conventional parts of the Linux desktop is respectable and it helps to provide something usable for people wanting alternatives to Windows right now, but it does very little to push Linux forward in the grand scheme of things. GNOME, KDE, Fluxbox, OpenOffice, Abiword, etc. are fine pieces of software, but they are simply not going to be drivers for success.


See, this is part of the problem. The people who want Linux to "succeed" no matter what costs are going to destroy it.


What things like ChromeOS and the Litl are doing is trying to provide something different-- to open people up to the possibility that there are better ways to interact with a computer than desktops, windows and file hierarchies. This is where Linux truly has a chance to shine and I find these things exciting.


All cool, but no matter where we come from, basically we can agree with at least some fundamental points raised by FSF and related parties. No matter if you are a FSF member and a avid GNU supporter, a BSD enthusiastic, or a Haiku devotee, you can agree that computing should generally be open -- or say "hackable" -- at some fundamental level.

But now these people pushing for Linux as a gateway to the Cloud are willing to toss all that away. See, no matter how much I tried, no matter how much I paid, no matter if I was Torvalds himself, I can not go and hack Google docs or Twitter. They remain so tightly closed that the term "proprietary" is merely a bad joke.

Reply Score: 2

The price...
by leos on Wed 30th Dec 2009 09:54 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

The litl is pretty cool, but the price is just unbelievable. Classic case of a bunch of engineers getting together to make a cool piece of kit, and not even taking 5 minutes to ask the question of what market they're going for or what price that market might tolerate.

How could you possibly go through all the steps of bringing a product to market and getting it manufactured without thinking about the most important part?

Reply Score: 2

RE: The price...
by jeanke on Wed 30th Dec 2009 11:11 UTC in reply to "The price..."
jeanke Member since:
2005-08-26

Maybe they just might target those that have money to spend on yet another gadget besides their HD TV's netbooks, notebooks and smartphones?

Something that has a cool design, is easy-to-use and allows you to show off with all your pictures, Facebook accounts, ... without having to boot a laptop.

Sounds ideal for some hip people in their 50's or early 60's that have enough free time (due early retirement or a part-time job and no kids to take care of) and money...

This choice also makes sense business-wise:
- smaller volume
- higher margins
- less competitors that can work cheaper than they can
- ...

Reply Score: 2

Where are the Specs?
by Evan on Wed 30th Dec 2009 12:36 UTC
Evan
Member since:
2006-01-18

Would be nice to know what resolution the screen was at, or the battery life.

Reply Score: 2

Hi from litl
by litl_phil on Wed 30th Dec 2009 16:05 UTC
litl_phil
Member since:
2009-12-30

Hi, thanks for reviewing our product!

It's worth pointing out that the functionality of the litl webbook will expand through our growing channels platform - we are releasing an SDK so anyone can develop litl channels. Channels are customized-for-litl versions of webapps and content.

Price: check out our 12.1" WXGA LCD 1280x800 - it's the best on the market for its class and is incredibly bright with a 178-degree viewing angle. It's not cheap and it does impact our price, as does the low travel scissor action keys. This is a quality device. We don't really see cheap small netbooks as in the same category.

We do see our webbook as a premium designer device and it's for the home, not road warriors - hence our focus on easel mode and channels.

@cb_osn: thanks you've hit the nail on the head. The desktop metaphor that Windows etc still uses arose in pre-web times. Litl is all about a simpler interface which is web-driven instead of hardware driven.

Follow us on twitter.com/litl, see http://blog.litl.com
or email asklitl@litl.com if you have questions.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Hi from litl
by mpxlbs on Wed 30th Dec 2009 17:56 UTC in reply to "Hi from litl"
mpxlbs Member since:
2009-01-25

Will you ship to europe?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hi from litl
by David on Wed 30th Dec 2009 22:03 UTC in reply to "Hi from litl"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Thanks for mentioning the screen resolution. I neglected to mention in my review that the monitor is far superior to what you'd normally get on a cheapie laptop.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by polaris20
by polaris20 on Wed 30th Dec 2009 16:25 UTC
polaris20
Member since:
2005-07-06

Way over-priced IMO, especially since I can nearly get a refurb MacBook for that, or a Thinkpad R series running Ubuntu.

I just don't see the value in this at all. If I want something small, an Acer Aspire One 11" runs Ubuntu 9.10 absolutely beautifully, and costs all of $350.

Reply Score: 2

Whoa!
by Tuishimi on Wed 30th Dec 2009 16:40 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't even buy a full laptop for $699 these days!!!

Reply Score: 3

Fish nor Fowl
by dyla on Wed 30th Dec 2009 18:26 UTC
dyla
Member since:
2009-12-30

The Litl webbook shows some interesting concepts, but as a stand-alone product, with little in the way of an active developer community, this is a product is destined to be a one-trick pony, and an expensive one at that.

The cloud storage idea only works in reality if you have an always-on internet connection, like a mobile phone. Wifi ties you to home and a handful of other locations, which renders the webbook useless for most of the time if you carry it around.

Even as a device targeted exclusive to home use the webbook is lacking:

- The screen doesn't flip over quite far enough to consider using it as an eBook reader
- It can play high quality video, but from what sources? Can you watch movies from Amazon or Netflix? Stream video from your Slingbox?
- Is there an App to play music from a daap or UPNP share? Does it have Bluetooth so you can playback through real speakers?

In my opinion, it would have served Litl better to develop only the software, and pitch it to the likes of Sonus, SlimDevices/Logitech and boutique home fidelity equipment makers.

But even in this niche segment, better alternatives exist. Google's Android can (besides handsets) already be found in the Nook eBook reader, various media tablets and some GPS devices. Moblin is an attractive option as well for similar devices, more so if it also ran on ARM processors.

Palm also has a window of opportunity to capitalize on WebOS, by licensing it to other equipment makers (think MP3 players, netbooks, cameras, game/education consoles).

I have no idea where Litl fits in with all of this.

Reply Score: 1

If only...
by helf on Wed 30th Dec 2009 19:47 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

..It wasn't $700. I could swing $400 or so. I'd probably actually get one. Not as a laptop/desktop replacement by any means, but an awesome "appliance" to leave in the kitchen or living room. I don't like how people are trying to push EVERYTHING onto the web, but web devices and services do have their place and something such as this would be awesome as a guest computer and a quick internet portal.

Reply Score: 2