You’re a tech-company-nobody without a mini version of your latest release. I’m talking netbooks; Sony have released their Vaio W range, Asus have got their Eee PC Netbooks and Samsung have gone ultra-light with the new N120. But US startup company, Litl, have gone one step further with their new design-led Litl Webbook – they’ve gone back to basics.
Described as the anti-PC, the new Litl Webbook is designed for internet surfing and media-viewing minus the complexities of other operating systems. Launched earlier this month, the Litl Webbook has stripped its user interface bare, doing away with menus, icons and folders in an attempt to make the Webbook ideal for “everyone in the family”.
The defining feature is its flexible hinge design, which means the Webbook can be used as a conventional netbook or be flipped at a 178-degree angle for easel-like viewing of photographs, videos and even the weather forecast via its 12” screen and H.264 in 720p playback. Other features include a dial for smooth transition through its web channels, including Flickr, Shutterfly, Weather.com and Facebook. There’s also a HDMI output for plug-and-play connectivity to a larger screen, WiFi, headphone jack as well as inbuilt microphone, webcam and USB 2.0 port.
With 1.6 GHZ Atom processor and 1GB RAM, Litl have produced their own operating system as well as hardware. Advertising “maintenance-free” perks, the Webbook is automatically updated and checked for viruses. It also stores data server-side via a ‘cloud’ therefore lacking a hard drive. While this Webbook is perhaps targeted at technophobes or those looking to reduce the OS complexities of the average netbook or PC, its downfall could arise in security issues. What happens if Litl’s service has technical issues or this relatively new startup goes bust? No more automatic updates; bye-bye data.
Cloud computing security and privacy issues aside, this is a netbook with a clever, hinged gimmick. It’s for people who surf the internet, want to view their holiday snaps, watch the odd video online and, ultimately, don’t use their computers for much else. Being expensive for a scaled-back version of more sophisticated netbooks at $699 (and an additional $19 for the remote control); you’re paying for its functionality, ease of use and the lovely-looking design – while you’re losing the familiarity of dominating operating systems. If you want something simple and a bit different, buy it – but back-up your stuff.