reMarkable is a Norwegian startup with a rather impressive goal in mind: bridging the gap between the ereader and the tablet. It’s clear to anyone that the tablet market is stagnating at best and pretty much dying at worst, so it’s really nice to see fresh ideas in a segment that’s been begging for a good shake for what feels like an eternity. On paper (forgive the involuntary pun), reMarkable holds great promise, since most ereaders only allow inputting notes using a touchscreen keyboard, which really isn’t ideal for taking notes in class or at a conference, whereas the Norwegian startup’s product ships with a pen that can be used to write notes and draw.
reMarkable is to ship with a 10.3-inch e-ink screen with an aspect ratio of 4:3, much bigger than that found on Amazon’s Kindle (all models come with a 6-inch screen), but a lot smaller than that of Sony’s Digital Paper (13.3 inches). Judging from the other specifications given, it would appear that the tablet as a whole has a diagonal of 12.2 inches, which suggests a rather thick bezel, but we’ve come to expect this from ereaders. Setting apart this product from other ereaders is its very high pixel per inch count, topping at a whopping 226 (compared to Kindle’s 167 dots per inches, but lower than Kindle Paperwhite’s, Voyage and Oasis, which top out at 300 DPI). Other specifications for the product include a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, 512 MB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, which is in line with what other ereaders offer. I’m very curious to see if such low specifications, aimed at getting the best battery life possible rather than offering raw power, are going to be sufficient to run a device that’s purported to replace pen and paper. It takes no time to flip page on a paper notebook, but refreshing my Kindle’s screen takes about one second and a half, which is a bit too much when you’re trying to take notes in a hurry.
Another thing that worries me is the decision of using a custom Linux distribution, named Codex. This pretty much leaves anyone who wishes to read Amazon ebooks dead in the water, since I see no way the American ebook behemoth is going to develop a Kindle application for it, or let reMarkable themselves develop one. Using a modified version of Android would’ve helped this device a whole lot, since Android already has a Kindle app.
It’s clear that I have lots of skepticism for this product, but I still think it’s an interesting experiment. I already contacted them about receiving a review sample and I look forward to give you my opinion about it once it’s out, this September.