Litl Webbook Re-Defines Computing

Laptop-like device provides entertainment and education for the whole family.

ByABC News
December 11, 2009, 10:14 AM

Dec. 14, 2009— -- The litl webbook packs as much power as many of the laptops available today, but the tiny Boston-based company that designed the litl is offering a whole new way to use a computer.

It is not a laptop -- it's an Internet device. In a refreshing approach, the manufacturer has concentrated on simplicity over features.

Litl webbook is an ideal first computer for the kids, a fun digital appliance for the kitchen or a simple to use device for the elderly.

The operating system is completely unique to litl. It's been written from the ground up (2 ½ years in the making) instead of being tweaked for the past 30 years like the Windows and Mac OS.

When users turn on the webbook, they are presented with an easy-to-navigate main page. Instead of menus or a desktop littered with folders, the screen immediately displays the most popular applications. For example, a Web browser and search box are built right in to the user interface.

It is truly an Internet computer and it uses online services most people are already familiar with, such as Gmail, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, and common Internet standards like RSS.

Users are presented with a option to add a "card" or a widget to services they enjoy and all the data is kept on the Internet and pulled down to the computer whenever it is turned on. Techies refer to this as "cloud computing," because all the data is stored remotely.

"As everything from music and photos to e-mail and social networking moves online, it's clear that the Web is transforming personal computing. And yet, most homes are still using computers and software based on thinking from more than 30 years ago," explained Litl's founder and CEO John Chuang. "We knew that to really meet the needs of home users – from kids to parents and grandparents – we needed to design an entirely new system that would make the web engaging, entertaining and fun."

Software updates (they call them "treatments") are done remotely while you sleep, and your settings and data are constantly being backed up. If your Litl is lost or broken you won't lose any of your data.

However, you will give up a lot of control for all this simplicity. The litl won't run intense DVD-based video games or any additional software that other computers can. No watching movies from a DVD either. But, then again, that is not what this computer is designed for.