An E-Ink Tablet? Well, Sort Of

March 30, 2017 Miscellany 2

reMarkable?

Initially, the reMarkable looks pretty cool for people who prefer paper over digital screens, or merely prefer paper for certain tasks (sketching, taking notes…) But the company makes a point of saying reMarkable doesn’t have all the functions of a regular tablet. It’s more like a limited e-ink e-reader combined with a pad of paper than it is a tablet —  except the paper has magical digital properties. And reMarkable is very limited. A major drawback is that reMarkable doesn’t support DRM, meaning you can’t read most purchased books on it. (That alone would keep me from buying it.) It also lacks the ability to convert handwriting to text, and due to its proprietary operating system, it can’t sync with Evernote, One Note, Google Docs, etc…which makes it difficult to see how taking notes or jotting things down on a reMarkable is much better than using paper and scanning the result. Since the developers chose to go with their own, proprietary operating system, it’s hard to see how those functions could be added in the future.

To me, reMarkable looks like a good idea married to good hardware, but without the capability or versatility it needs to be truly useful. I’ll be interested to see if it will do well enough to be able to add some of the functionality into later versions. At $429, it’s pretty pricey for such a limited device.

The company is currently taking preorders, and estimates it will start shipping orders in September 2017.

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