Litl vs. Apple iPad

So, I’m starting to get the requests from Apple to pre-order an iPad. And, I have to admit, I want one. I spend a lot of time in the evenings reading web pages, listening to music, and occasionally watching a video. I own a 16GB iPod Touch, and it’s my go-to device for these sorts of activities. I’m excited about stepping up to 1024×768, along with the idea of a tappable touch-screen driven device.

However, I keep being nagged by the thought that I will miss a keyboard. I don’t care about the lack of muli-tasking, flash support, or the various other quibbles about the iPad (no usb port, no easy way to connect SD media, no camera, etc.) But, I have to say, I’m a little worried about the keyboard. While I can get by on the iPod touch screen keyboard, it’s not my favorite way to type, and it doesn’t look to me like Apple’s add-on keyboard is something I can use in my lap.

Litl Computer image

Litl Webtop

So, this reminded me of a device I bet most of you have never heard of: the litl webbook. Litl boasts some brilliant people on its team: Havoc Pennington, Scott Ananian, Lucas Rocha. The Litl has a 1280×800 screen, runs an Atom processor, looks like a slightly friendlier version of the netbook that my wife already uses and sells for $699. And, I bet you’re thinking, what?!?!

The Litl is a category-bending device. It is an example of radical simplicity. You pay for that. It’s as simple as that. The device has 1GB of RAM, and 2GB of flash. It has no local hard drive. It’s designed to always be connected to the web. The local storage is used for caching the data retrieved from the web. The OS is Ubuntu-derived. The OS is patched and maintained via the web, with patches happening automatically during slack periods. There is no multitasking and only one activity is visible at a time. There are no overlapping windows. Visit the litl site at http://litl.com/ to read more about the motivations behind the creation of this device.

Anyway, I find myself strangely attracted to this. The safe bet is certainly the iPad. However, there are all sorts of interesting technologies involved in the Litl, as well as that keyboard. OTOH, as it has no local storage, how do I read ebooks when I am disconnected from the net? Also, wouldn’ it be nice if the easel hinge was so flexible that I could fold the keboard behind the screen for use more as an e-reader? Oh, and SSH, and an NX client, and… oh, that’s what my “real” computer is for. 🙂

We’ll have to see…

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