The litl webbook is a very unique little computer. It’s about the size of a netbook, but it is half the trouble. I’ll admit that I’m not one that wants to use a computer that doesn’t do much, but I was intrigued by the litl. I first saw it at an SV Moms Chevy event back in March.

When I first opened it, I thought that I had a dud. It did nothing when I attempted to turn it on. It just presented me with a blank screen. But a quick power cycle fixed that, it quickly installed updates, and I was ready to go.

The litl is designed to be an additional helper in the kitchen, a photo frame, a web TV or a web appliance. That’s all it does is web. And it does it fairly well. The litl is running Linux under the hood, but you will never know it. What you see is the customized interface which consists of large buttons called Web Cards. These are bookmarks to the sites that you frequent.

Adding your favorite blogs to a Web Card is really cool. When you save the address it parses it like an RSS reader and shows a slide show of the latest posts on the button. When you click it, you get a quick lists of posts to your left, an easy to read display of the post to your right, and the option to ‘go to web page’ at the top. You can also click share which brings up a window to email the page to your friends. There is also an option of just viewing the page as a slideshow which scrolls through all of the post images.

The design of the litl makes it the perfect no maintenance computer for a beginner, or a grandparent. There are no updates to worry about. It does all of that automatically when you turn it on. There are zero buttons to push to make sure that you have the latest. It’s foolproof.

Specifications:

Processor

Input / Output

Screen

Intel Atom 1.6 gHz Headphone Jack 12.1″ widescreen
HDMI 720 1280 x 800 resolution

Memory

USB 2.0 (1) 178° viewing cone
1 GB SDRAM Ultra-bright LCD
2GB solid state storage for 0.3 megapixel webcam
operating system and caching Full-sized keyboard

Dimensions

2 IR receivers 12.6 x 1.06 x 9.25 inches

Wi-Fi

802.11b/g

Battery

Weight

3-cell Lithium Ion 3.4 lbs

Operating System

Estimated 3 hour use (remote control optional)
litl OS

Extras

  • Automatic nightly software upgrades, plug-ins, patches, and virus protection for the life of the computer
  • Patented hinge to convert to easel mode
  • Built-in scroll wheel for easy navigation
  • 2 GB solid state storage for operating system and caching
  • 2 Internal IR receivers compatible with litl remote
  • Full-sized keyboard
  • 300k pixel built-in camera

One great feature of the litl is easy photo uploading. You don’t have to know anything to get it done. You plug your camera into the USB port, it shows you a slideshow of your photos, and  walks you through easily uploading them to the web. Check out this video for more:

Pros

  • Light
  • Easy to Use
  • No Maintenance
  • Unique bendable design to turn it into a display

Cons

  • Since it is based on Linux, there are some drawbacks. The main one being that it cannot run Netflix! I thought it would be very cool to be able to use the litl as an additional “TV” in the kitchen. But Netflix uses Microsoft Silverlight (for some strange reason) and that does not run on the litl. However, Hulu works great!

Summary

I think the litl is perfect for a grandparent who is not that familiar with using a computer, a beginner, or anyone who wants to add a web appliance to any room of their home. There is no learning curve needed to use the litl. If you can click a button, or type in a webpage, you are good to go. Use it to quickly browse the web for recipes, or even watch how to videos on Youtube, check email, upload and view photos or browse the web.

Check out the litl site for even more information. Or view the litl Flickr stream for loads of photos of the litl. The litl maintenance-free computer costs $399.

Disclosure: The litl Webbook was loaned to me for about a month to do this review. It has since been returned.