After my brief post last week about the litl, I was contacted by James Gardner, litl’s VP of marketing. He pointed me to a post on Pentagram’s site and to a video on YouTube. As I was hoping, they painted a picture of very thoughtful design and filled in a lot more detail. In fact, as it turns out, they had an all-star cast working on this thing. Lisa Strausfeld lead Pentagram’s team in the design of the GUI, and Pentagram was also responsible for the visual identity, designed by Abbott Miller. The logo, business cards, and packaging are all exquisite.
The UI has the polish one would expect from Apple. Animated transitions bring a natural flow to state changes. The dial that is used for serial navigation in “easel” mode is repeated on the remote. They designed several channels that deliver specific information from the internet, like the weather, as well as a number of “widgets” like a clock or a feed reader. Visual treatments clearly distinguish between widgets, channels, and standard webpages. Arrangement of these items is automated much like the rearranging of photographs in iPhoto. It hooks up to your hi-def television with an HDMI cable to play movies or show photos. And, if you have more than one in the house, they can be set up to share things with each other.
Also working on the project were Cooper, Fort Franklin, and Fuseproject, although I don’t know what their contributions were. Fuseproject was also behind the OLPC XO laptop, so I’m betting they worked on the industrial design.
The video is pretty awful—lot’s of “um-uh” and fumbling around, but the product shows off well. They should really put together a professional video demonstration of the UI. I think they have a lot to be proud of. This could be a very successful product, although I’m curious to see if they’ve hit a low-enough price point. At $699 or $1,398 for a two-pack, it seems a bit much for something without local storage.