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Noteslate Shiro 6.8″ Writing Slate Due Out This Fall, Will Cost $199

When we first saw the Noteslate in 2011 we were promised a $99 color epaper writing slate. That device turned out to be complete vaporware,  but Noteslate’s current design isn’t quite as fictional.

A reader has tipped me to the news that Noteslate has announced the Shiro, an epaper writing slate with a 6.8″ screen. (Thanks, Jafnaw!)

Update: Here’s the latest on the Shiro.

noteslate shiro

The Shiro looks nothing like the original Noteslate, and is instead based on a 6.8″ Pearl E-ink screen with a frontlight and a touchscreen. This is not the first to use this screen size, but it is the first to come with a pressure sensitive stylus.

According to the Noteslate website, the Shiro runs Noteslate OS on a 1GHz Freescale CPU. It also has Wifi, Bluetooth and a microSD card slot. It weighs 240 grams, and measures 10 mm thick.

Aside from that, I can’t tell you much at this time. I queried Noteslate before writing this post, but the folks behind Noteslate aren’t sharing any other details right now. (Edit: they did tweet that they are planning a 13″ model which will be launched later.)

I don’t, for example, know who their hardware partner is or what OS is being used, but I can guess.

I would bet that Noteslate has partnered with Onyx, the Chinese ereader maker, to adapt one of Onyx’s Android ereader designs for use as the Noteslate. Onyx has experience with stylus-equipped ereaders, so the Shiro would be right in their ballpark.

Edit: And if not Onyx, then possibly Netronix. This firm has a 6.8″ ereader which would fit the bill.

I’m told that an official announcement is coming next week, and that the Noteslate Shiro is expected to ship this fall.

So are you going to get one?

It’s up for pre-order right now, but I don’t plan to put my money up. The struggles of the Earl E-ink tablet and the Popslate iPhone case have made me leery of the idea of handing my money to unknown and untried device makers.

The Earl has been under development for two years and is back to square one, while the Popslate shipping 2 years late and is showing no evidence that it will ever have the nifty features promised in the original Indiegogo campaign.

Neither company had previous device development experience, and they were not prepared for the many roadblocks thrown in their path.

While I don’t know that Noteslate will have similar issues, their silence leaves me with no way to judge whether they can pull this off.

If you want one, I would wait until the Shiro ships before buying.

Edit: A reader noticed that there was an option to pre-order and not pay until the order shipped.  That strikes me as a good option. Thanks, Ingo!


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qwoif April 25, 2015 um 7:18 pm

Yet another empty-headed design. Where am I supposed to store the fucking stylus during transport? Why is there no holder? Boy, oh boy!

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2015 um 10:25 pm

Well, the case might have a slot for the stylus. But yes, the device needs a slot as well. You can’t make a stylus a core component without also makig sure it won’t get lost.

qwoif April 26, 2015 um 7:59 pm

After visiting their web site, I am actually less angry about their (still headshaking-evoking) oversight. There is really a lot to like about this new device’s design (at least for my taste). It featuring a "magnesium body" reads like one could expect something visually and haptically capable of succeeding at conveying a sense of value, if done right also in the final product, for what they show on their web site still looks like a rendered teaser. Following your links to their earlier vaporware though calls for some caution. On the other hand, their use of their old brand name and mention of that 2011 incident right at the top of their Q&A section at the bottom of their web page doesn’t seem to be the wisest thing to do in an attempt to pull off some new stunt. I mean, what for?

What is known is, that this time, unlike with their 2011 mockup, the technology is principly there. You have even written about that pen-equipped Netronix device. All you have to do is to put your custom-styled shell and input pen design around the generic version and voilà, you have what you see on their page. Because of Netronix’s existing design, Onyx would not have been my first guess for a possible development partner. Hanvon also comes to mind, since their WISEreader C920 and E920 models also feature both pen and touch input.

I for one am pretty interested in the outcome of this. Please keep me lazy reader informed!

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 8:01 pm

Oh, Netronix. i forgot to mention them. D’oh.

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 8:19 pm

And you’re right about Netronix; I completely forgot about that design, which is so close in concept to the Shiro that it could literally be nothing more than a rebadged device.

That detail increases the chance that this Shiro device will make to market.

Michelle April 25, 2015 um 8:25 pm

Not interested in anything that isn’t going to have a built in app ecosystem. If it isn’t running android, I’m not interested.

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 11:12 pm

I heard back from Noteslate. It’s a custom OS based on Linux.

Ingo Lembcke April 26, 2015 um 4:52 am

> It’s up for pre-order right now, but I don’t plan to put my money up.
> The struggles of the Earl E-ink tablet and the Popslate iPhone case
> have made me leery of the idea of handing my money to unknown
> and untried device makers.

The difference between Earl and Popslate was, as I tried to support both, Popslate never charged me, I tried to contact them, then where was no answer, I cancelled March 2014 (never got a confirmation mail, though).
EARL: From Kickstarter I was used to being charged when the date to collect came AND the amount they set was reached, so I was miffed, that EARL charged me instantly.
Currently I try to get my EARL-money back, and while they take their time, I hope to have it on my credit-card-statement till end of May. If not, well it is one lesson learned.

And on their webpage, the Shiro offers two deals: an earlier, numbered and limited edition, where they clearly state, "We will charge your credit card immediately upon Pre-order.", supposed to be shipping September 2015, and another version, where they will not charge you until shipping, and it is supposed to ship October 2015, as both cost the same, you pay now for a limited, numbered edition and early shipping, or you play it safe, it is your choice.

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 8:49 am

Popslate charged me right away when I pre-ordered back in December.

It’s curious that you say that the two Noteslate pre-order options collect money at different times. I must have missed that.

Ingo Lembcke April 26, 2015 um 9:27 am

OK given that they charged you pre-shipping for Popslate, I can understand your hesitance to again give money to an unknown entity before shipping.
Maybe order in November when the first Shiros are tested and blogged about (will it blend?).
As a notepad for writing it is not enough for me, I would like Android, Google Play, and some Reader-Software (PDF, Comic, EPUB, Kindle), when I might consider buying it, even as pre-order – I will certainly keep an eye on the website and news about it.

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 11:53 am

Actually, I went back and changed the recommendation. That second option is a lot less risky and more palatable.

And I agree, I want Android so I can add more apps.

Noteslate Shiro : une liseuse 6,8 pouces avec stylet et capteur de pression April 27, 2015 um 9:03 am

[…] Source : The Digital Reader […]

Ingo Lembcke April 27, 2015 um 9:50 am

Translation through Google

Noteslate Shiro ePaper writing tablet due this fall for $199 – Liliputing May 2, 2015 um 9:24 am

[…] via Ink, Bits, and Pixels […]

Noteslate Shiro il tablet da 6.8 pollici per disegnare a mano libera May 3, 2015 um 8:21 pm

[…] Approfondimenti: Noteslate Shiro | E Ink | Ink, Bits and Pixels […]

adamlogan May 24, 2015 um 2:06 am

@qwoif: I laughed at your empty headed design comment on a place for the stylus, touche. One thought I had was that maybe it sticks using magnetism, probably not. Intuos tablets never had a placeholder, its not that bad, but again intuous tablets are not as portable as the noteslate appears to be. Don’t most stylus holders suck though? I’ve not owned any note-like gadgets other than the two intuos tablets I own and use (one wide format one older 4/3 format).

@Ingo Lembcke: The website states only 8gb of internal memory, and then there’s the sd card, that’s not a lot of space for android apps or a full blown mobile OS. Seems to me the device is minimalist and that is the main appeal.

I don’t know, I’m wondering what else is going to be available by the time they ship if they ever do ship. I think I’d be happier with a Cintiq Companion 2 top of the line version (i7 512 GB) if and when it ever does ship with or has OSX as an option or the hackintosh setup guide is completed/released.

I probably shouldn’t compare them, they’re very different products, both on my wishlist just the same. I wonder which will come first.

Tom August 21, 2015 um 12:48 pm

I don’t want a lot of apps necessarily, but at least an e-reader should be on this right? A "kindle" that also has a notepad would be incredibly useful especially if you can also hand write in your e-books. Not much else that I’d really want to do in e-ink.

Robin September 23, 2015 um 5:35 am

I believe that there is a market for a simple notetaking device, and have done so for years.

I workk in software suppport and regularly take telephone calls and I use an A5 pad of paper. As well as saving the trees, I would like the device to be able to save the note so I can refer back to later on, open it again, (something the Boogie Board can’t do) and erase areas if necessary, then send it to people in my office or organisation. I know it can be done on the pc via email or specific telephone messaging software but I like to use a pen and pad.

Just that! I don’t want to read books on it, I’ve already got a pad, and my phone and a book, I don’t want to play games on it, I have my pad, my computer and games console, and my compendium of board games, cards and scrabble and snakes and ladders.

The simpler the better as far as I’m concerned, everyone in the office should have one, however at that price I don’t think everyone in "my" office will have one!

Think I’ll wait until it becomes available and someone can review it.

Oh, and as Columbo always use to say… there’s just one more thing… It needs a good battery life, which the specs seem to indicate it willl have.

Robin September 23, 2015 um 5:40 am

Better still…

…send one to me and I’ll review it !

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[…] Kuro bears a striking resemblance to the Shiro, the writing slate Noteslate announced last year, only now it has a black shell. Like the Shiro, […]

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