August 8, 2013

The E-ink Typewriter

Writing outside is a painful experience. Sure, you could do as I do now, sitting cross-legged in the shade on my lawn, tapping away on my iPhone. That works reasonable well, at least until my back gives in. It’ll work for today’s 300 words of the iPhone novel, but beyond that it’s just not ideal.

An e-ink Kindle perhaps?
An e-ink Kindle perhaps?

I’d like to be able to put out a table, perhaps equipped with a parasol, and sit in a proper chair. I could do that, but it’d be far from ideal. Laptop screens just plain suck outdoors, and although devices like the iPad fare better, they still put an unnecessary strain on the eyes.

What I really want is an e-ink display and a keyboard, I really don’t need much more than that. I can’t find it though, probably because e-ink is still too slow and unresponsive to make it truly work as a regular screen. But let’s dream a bit, shall we?

The e-ink typewriter for modern writers who like to work outdoors:

  • 9–10″ screen, backlit and with a retina-like resolution (much like the excellent Kindle Paperwhite)
  • Keyboard support via bluetooth
  • Wifi and/or 3G, mostly for sync with Dropbox/other
  • Mad battery life (10+ hours should be a piece of cake for a device like this)
  • No need for a distraction-infested app store of any kind.

The only thing the e-ink typewriter needs is a nice writing app, something inspired by iA Writer or Byword. Markdown support would be nice, but it really doesn’t matter. I’d like to be able to change the font size and margins, for a more personal workspace, but that’s not a must-have either.

Please sell me this writing device. It’s all I want during the summer. Well that, and a new chair and table, possibly a nice parasol that I can angle anyway I like too. And sun, and a cold beverage, obviously.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.