Litl has officially pulled back the thin veil that had been covering the company’s new Easel computer. The Easel is basically a laptop with a 12.1 inch display, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and a graphics processor that can handle H.264 video at 720p resolutions and output video to an HDTV via HDMI. It has 1GB of RAM, and 2GB of Flash memory, 802.11g WiFi, mic and headphone jacks and a USB port. It also has 2 infrared ports for using a remote control to operate the computer.
But while the specs aren’t particularly impressive, Litl is marketing the Litl Easel as an entirely new class of computing device, thanks largely to its custom user interface. Litl OS is basically a web-connected operating system that you navigate by clicking on thumbnails and navigating through a search box. There’s no file browser. There are no folders. Your data is automatically stored online so you can access your information from any Litl Easel.
The Easel is designed to be used in two different modes. In laptop mode, it functions like a laptop and you can navigate with a touchpad and keyboard. When you fold the screen down and prop the computer up you can navigate using a wheel built into the machine or a remote control. And web developers can design custom “channels” that will show up when you use the Easel in channel mode. For example, the weather channel web site shows up as a normal page in laptop mode, but in channel mode it can show you the current weather conditions and other information in full screen.
Overall, the Litl Easel seems like an interesting device. But there’s one problem, and it’s a big one: Litl wants to charge $699 for the Easel. That makes it about twice expensive as the average netbook with nearly identical hardware specifications. You could also make the case that a typical netbook can do more, since it runs a full desktop operating system such as Windows XP, Windows 7, or Ubuntu Linux. But that kind of misses the point of the Easel, which is meant to be used as a new class of device, not as a traditional laptop. But charging twice as much doesn’t seem like the best way to convince consumers that they need a new device that changes the way they interact with the web when it’s not at all clear that people are unhappy with the current paradigm.
Oh yeah, that remote control? It costs another $19, bringing the total price to $718.
You can find a boatload of additional photos and information at Litl.com.
via Netbook Choice