Remarkable 10.3″ E-ink Writing Slate Goes Up for Pre-Order (video)

Remember that dummy prototype ereader Boeye showed off at Frankfurt Book Fair, the one with a 10.3" E-ink screen?

That screen has now shown up in a second device.

The Remarkable purports to be the "paper tablet for people who prefer paper" but is at this time more marketing hype than a real product, and is being developed by a company which has more marketing people than engineers.

According to the marketing materials, this writing slate has a screen which is the most paper-like and quickest digital paper around, but what with no one having seen it yet we do not know that is the case.

Remarkable 10.3" E-ink Writing Slate Goes Up for Pre-Order (video) e-Reading Hardware

This writing slate runs a proprietary Linux OS on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

That CPU is powering a 10.3" Carta E-ink display (1872 x 1404 resolution - 226 PPI).  The Remarkable doesn't have a frontlight, but the spec sheet does mention that there's no glass in the display.

It also comes with a multi-point capacitive touchscreen and a custom stylus which has a special high-friction pen tip, can measure how it is being tilted, and is capable of detecting up to 2048 degrees of pressure.

I would recommend that you take those claims with about a bucket of salt, because the specs also claim "no battery, setup or pairing required", which would seem to contradict the claim that the stylus is pressure sensitive. (Also, how can the stylus detect the degree of tilt without power?)

In a way, the Remarkable reminds me of the Noteslate. Both devices are writing slates with stylus, both launched with bold claims, and neither passes the sniff test.

The Noteslate first launched close to six years ago, but has never shipped a single device and keeps getting delayed.

The Noteslate is basically vaporware at this point, while the Remarkable only exists as marketing hype which sounds funny to my expert ear.

For example, I followed up on the screen tech and was told:

Electronic Digital Paper displays consists of tens of different layers.

On the reMarkable some of these layers are based on E-Ink Carta display technology. In addition we have developed additional layers and technology, including the screen surface, to give it the paper friction.

That's the kind of nonsense you get from a marketing guy who doesn't know what he is talking about, and it makes me doubt that the company has a real product or the engineering talent required to bring new screen tech to market.

That suspicion is born out by the employees I found on LinkedIn. There's a whole lot of marketing people at Remarkable, but hardly any engineers. That is not reassuring.

I would not order one of these tablets, but if you want to take the plunge you can get in on the pre-orders. The Remarkable is scheduled to ship in August 2017. It is currently selling for $379 and comes with a case and the stylus.

Remarkable

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

24 Comments

  1. Kaz Augustin1 December, 2016

    Doesn’t anyone know how to hold a pen anymore? Only the artist was doing it right. I was about to say I’d get one, then I read this on their website:
    “All your work is automatically backed up securely with reMarkable’s cloud service”
    Danger, Will Robinson! No WAY I’d trust someone else with my work. That was one reason I ditched the Freewrite. Sorry, no go. Geez, at this rate, I’ll have to make my own!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 December, 2016

      What’s the right way to hold a pen?

      Reply
      1. Kaz Augustin1 December, 2016

        See here. It’s important because it really affects your speed. I’ve schooled the kids to take notes by writing rather than typing because facts don’t sink in as well when you type. Writing is better for mental data retention.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder1 December, 2016

          That’s how I have always held a pencil, thanks.

          I had to watch the video closely to see what you meant about holding it wrong.

          Reply
  2. vicente1 December, 2016

    Good inquiry about the subject, though, unlike the Boyue T103, it seems to work…

    Reply
  3. psv1 December, 2016

    I don’t know, the video looks quite real, it seems that they do have something that actually works. Whether it ever gets beyond prototypes is another thing (probably not).

    Reply
  4. SnowRipple1 December, 2016

    For one thing I am happy that another company is interested in producing a bigger e-ink device. This part of the market was neglected and overlooked for too much time. It makes me happy that, although slowly, companies like Onyx, Sony (supposedly working on new version of DPT-S1), Boeye, GoodEreader (not sure if this is a company) and others are investing in over 10 inches devices.

    Personally I finally would like to see an ereder with the IMX7 processor that supposedly is a breaktrought when it comes to ghosting and refresh rate. I would love to see it in a device like Dasung’s Paperlike.

    Nate, do you know if Dasung is working on the 3rd-gen device?

    Reply
  5. Deruy1 December, 2016

    At least it looks like there’s really a new display in the playground.
    Google should make their own digital paper if they want to do something for the planet.

    Reply
    1. vicente1 December, 2016

      More than that, anyone knows any device with an IMX7?

      Reply
  6. Michael1 December, 2016

    | Also, how can the stylus detect the degree of tilt without power?

    Electro-magnetic Resonance
    http://www.wacom.com/en-us/enterprise/business-solutions/resources-and-information/emr-benefits

    There’s the how, but whether Remarkable ever materializes in its advertised form remains to be seen. I have to wonder about impact on the tablet’s battery life when the stylus is active.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 December, 2016

      Thank you.

      Reply
  7. Antonio2 December, 2016

    Thanks a lot for the news.
    As for the glass, right now, on https://getremarkable.com they claim:

    > No glass parts, virtually unbreakable

    Reply
  8. […] aus Oslo die selbst geschürten Erwartungen auch erfüllen? Das Fachblog The Digital Reader ist hier extrem skeptisch und sieht den reMarkable bereits in einer Linie mit dem Noteslate, einem erstmalig vor 5 […]

    Reply
  9. Lemondrop2 December, 2016

    The lack of Android is a big miss. Android adds functionality.

    Reply
  10. Gertjan2 December, 2016

    I presume the software and digitizer is better, but still it looks an awful lot like the iRex DR1000 launched back in 2008. That’s 8 years ago.

    It used a Wacom digitizer with passive pens. Warcom claimed it to be ‘pressure sensitive’ and registering tilt, albeit not very accurate back then.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 December, 2016

      There’s a strong resemblance, yes:
      http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/IRex_Digital_Reader

      Reply
  11. Troll6 December, 2016

    No front light ,this is deal breaker for me

    Reply
  12. Paul9 December, 2016

    1. Pressure sensitiveness may be built into the screen
    2. Conical tip contact surface area with the screen could also be used to detect tilt

    Reply
  13. Tore B. Jørgensen10 December, 2016

    Six of the eight employees I can find have master degrees from Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The company was registered this summer and has a share capital of NOK 1619496 ($191216). It seems to be a continuation of a company called The Magma Company which was owned by the CEO and probably his father.

    I assume the reMarkable pad is put together mostly from technologies invented elsewhere, and with one or two twists they have invented themselves. It looks to me to be an honest attempt to bring the product to market, which of course doesn’t equals success.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder10 December, 2016

      And I have a Comp Sci degree from an accredited university. That doesn’t make me a great software engineer.

      The other problem with citing their degrees is that it shows just how little experience they really have. That is a strike against them, not a point in their favor.

      Reply
      1. Kaz Augustin10 December, 2016

        Yep. Agree totally. Have worked in both corporate and academia and the scientists were notable for their utter cluelessness. Attended a university biotech startup seminar last month and the lead scientist was a disaster. Clever but with no idea of how to start or run a business. If the uni hadn’t parted with a sizable starter grant, he’d be a no-go, despite his ground-breaking ideas. But, of course, they have advanced degrees, Nate, so they *obviously* know more about everything than you or I. 😉

        Reply
  14. […] Well… it’s mostly about that. I get to that point by briefly talking about how I read an article on The Digital Reader about a super-cool eink device called the reMarkable. I’m extremely excited about seeing how […]

    Reply
  15. J Stags14 January, 2017

    It looks a lot like the Sony Digital Paper product from around 2014; even some similar screen examples.
    http://www.sony.com/electronics/digital-paper-notepad#features

    Reply
  16. […] has been exactly six months since Remarkable started accepting pre-orders for its 10.3" E-ink writing tablet. In that time it has sold 100 million kroners worth of tablets […]

    Reply

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