Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Freewrite

The Hemingwrite has morphed into The Freewrite. It is touted as "a single purpose, distraction-free writing composition device. It combines the simplicity of a 90s-era word processor with modern technology like an e-paper display, mechanical keyboard, and cloud backups." Its price at the moment is $499.00.

It looks interesting, if a bit clumsy. It should be thinner--or so it seems to me. It's probably the mechanical keyboard that is to blame. I am not sure why I would need a "mechanical" keyboard.

Functionally, it seems very similar to the Alphasmart Neo which is now defunct. It can be had for less than $100.00 on Amazon and eBay. There may be some affluent people who are willing to pay five time that much for integration with Dropbox and Evernote, I am not among them. "'We are quickly seeing people becoming more disenchanted than ever with the nag of constant consumption,' explains Adam Leeb, cofounder of Freewrite manufacturer Astrohaus." Indeed!

The Freewrite weighs four pounds. The Neo2 weighs half that much. To repeat: "It's probably the mechanical keyboard that is to blame. I am not sure why I would need a 'mechanical' keyboard."

I am not sure why it is referred to as a "typewriter," as it does not seem to type or print on paper.

That being said, it is an interesting phenomenon.[1] I am sure some people will take to it. I am probably just too old (and would find it difficult to lug around four pounds on a fairly regular basis). And looking "cool" using it is no longer a real option either. So, please discount my negativity!



1. I became aware of The Freewrite through David Bosman
2. Tuesday, March 8, 2016 I have now done a search about "The Freewrite" and discovered that I am not the only one who felt moved to compare it to the Neo. It's not important, but I did not know of those previous posts when I wrote this. It's clearly an obvious association for anyone interested in a minimal word processor. I'd wish that someone developed a decent successor to the Neo.

4 comments:

Carlos Eduardo Morreo said...

I find something like this appealing, the keyboard in particular, a good keyboard is always a must. And insofar that we are dealing with a gadget, the four week charge due to the low battery consumption, also seems like a very good thing to have.

But, and there might be a couple of 'buts', the screen seems way too mall, and the angle almost 90 degrees, right? And finally the whole thing seems way overpriced.

Though I would still like to try something like this. I am just old/young enough to have caught the tail end of those late hybrid devices, the electronic typewriters, and always thought that there was a potential to these things that could have led in other directions beyond the PC/laptop.

MK said...

I find these devices intriguing as well. That being said, the Neo2 is not only cheaper and has an excellent keyboard. It lasts a whole year on three AA batteries.

Jay Moynihan said...

a +1 for the Neo. (From a former Radio Shack/Tandy Model 100 user)...

MK said...

I never used the Model 100, but I used to own a Tandy WP 2, which did everything the Alphasmart Neo does - and more. I also preferred its form factor. It was flat, not curved upward. Not everything is getting better.