Ideally, tablets should be able to work both as normal tablets and as e-ink tablets but that technology isn’t yet available. This is why, for reading e-books you need e-ink readers like the Kindle reader and for general browsing and other work, you need the usual Android tablets and iPads. I hope soon we have a technology that allows us to use the normal Android tablet or an iPad as an e-ink device and vice a versa. Until that happens, we have to depend on dedicated e-ink tablets and notebooks. Good news is, if you have been waiting for a big tablet that has an e-ink screen, your wait is almost over. The new e-ink tablet is called reMarkable. The entire collection of the tablet, the pen and the folio case may eventually cost you $716.
Here is a video that explains how the reMarkable e-ink tablet can be used and what is the concept behind it:
The reMarkable e-ink tablet aims to replace your usual notebook or paper sheets.
Having an e-ink screen means you can work directly under the sun. I couldn’t find it on the website whether the reMarkable e-ink tablet glows in darkness so that you can also work in low light – in Kindle reader and the Nook reader you can read even after switching off the lights.
The e-ink tablet uses “canvas display” – world’s fastest digital paper. Looks and feels like paper – well, so did the Kindle advertisement use to say but it no way looks and feels like paper.
But the reMarkable product description says that even the feel and the friction on the surface of the screen also feel like the real paper. They have used the “ultra high friction” materials on the display so it feels like writing on an actual paper. You can even place your hand on the screen while writing because the interaction mostly happens through the special pen that comes with the e-ink tablet.
A big problem with e-ink displays is the screen refresh lag time and they seem to have taken care of it. They have used a proprietary low-latency technology that quickly updates and refreshes the screen – this is a problem that you normally experience in the usual e-ink readers: when you flip from one page to another you have to wait for some time for the new information to come on the screen.
You can write, draw and sketch with a paper like feel.
Like other e-ink screens, it has a black-and-white display. I wonder what’s stopping the e-ink screen manufacturers to bring colours to e-ink screens. There must be some bigger hurdle otherwise it would have been crossed by now, especially by companies like Amazon for the Kindle reader.
The designers have made sure that the reMarkable e-ink has a minimalistic design. This device is not for people who would like to have a general tablet. It is specifically for writing, sketching, drawing and reading e-books, PDFs and documents. While reading e-books, PDFs and documents you can write annotations and notes and highlight portions. But basically, it remains a blank screen on which you can write, scribble or sketch.
Documents can be transferred using Wi-Fi. After creating documents on the e-ink tablet you can easily move them to your preferred cloud devises or even share them with your colleagues.
It’s a large tablet with 10.3-inch e-ink screen but it’s the size of any other paper sheet that you normally use. Right now it’s on the expensive side. Some would say it is even more expensive than an iPad Pro and you can do everything in iPad Pro that you can do in the reMarkable e-ink tablet except for the fact that it does not have an e-ink display. But it’s a good beginning. Every technology is expensive when it is introduced and then gradually the price comes down. Introduce a bit of colour and once it goes mainstream I’m pretty sure it can be a useful device.
Even Sony has introduced “Digital Paper” that allows you to work on a digital screen while having all the facility of the usual paper. I came across the Sony Digital Paper while writing on this blog post so I don’t have much information on this. One thing is sure though, the Sony Digital Paper does not have an e-ink display. Instead, they claim to have a high contrast display that allows you to work even in bright light. Other than that, it doesn’t seem different from the usual tablet.
The company website is taking preorders for the reMarkable e-ink tablets but the device will be shipped by August 2017.