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.
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. 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.