Modern laptops, smartphones and tablets are multi-purpose gadgets that you can use to read, write, watch, play, or create all sort of things. But sometimes a single-purpose gadget is the right tool for the job. That’s why some folks prefer reading eBooks on a Kindle or NOOK to reading on a phone or tablet — you get a distraction-free experience, long battery life, and a screen that’s easy on the eyes.
A few years ago Astrohaus launched a product that brings similar benefits to writers: the Freewrite Smart Typewriter is a portable writing machine with an E Ink display, a mechanical keyboard, and a battery that lasts for weeks at a time.
Now the company is getting ready to launch a new model that’s more portable and more affordable: meet the Traveler.
Update: The Traveler is up for pre-order via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. It’s expected to ship in January, and early backers can pre-order one for $269 or get a 2-pack for $558.
The Traveler has a clamshell design that lets you fold it in half like a notebook, making it easier t slide into a bag. It’s also smaller and lighter than the Freewrite, weighing about 1.8 pounds and measuring about 12″ x 5″ x 1″.
Atrohaus plans to continue selling its original Freewrite typewriter as its flagship product. That model has Cherry MX keyboard switches for a better typing experience than you’ll be able to get with the Traveler. But the new device will be smaller, lighter, and generally easier to use on the go.
It has an E Ink display and Astrohaus says the Traveler gets up to 30 hours of battery life during continuous use, or 4 weeks of battery life when used for about a half hour a day (which means 14 hours of overall use plus a lot of standby time).
Neither the Freewrite nor the Traveler offer any support for third-party apps. These are machines designed for one thing only: writing. But they do support WiFi, allowing you to synchronize your documents to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote.
Astrohaus plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the Traveler on October 2nd. The company hasn’t revealed pricing yet, but it’s expected to cost less than the Freewrite, which sells for $499 (about the same price as King Him’s Pomera DM30 E Ink writing device).
via The Digital Writer and Freewrite community
If this had speech to text I would want one.
These used to be called “word processors”. Or does this have even few functions than one of those?
I would have thought it could pair up nicely with a set of video glasses.
– With a decent keyboard, you don’t need to look at the keyboard to type.
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This product doesn’t make sense to me. You can buy a decent 10″ Window computer for $200 to $400 that is about 2 pounds and at most 11″ x 7″ and less that an inch thick. You can also buy an iPad plus clamshell case for about $400 that is smaller and lighter.
This particular device is supposed to be about “distraction-free” writing. For most people, it DOESN’T make sense. Even for those of us who can appreciate “distraction-free”, this doesn’t make much sense. My Alphasmart Neo2 is superior in nearly every respect except for portability… and does it for a fraction of the price.
If that’s the case, the old TRS-80 Model 100 and Epson HX-20 make more sense to me.
The Traveler seems to have the old Sony Vaio P form factor, which I’ve always thought of as the holy grail of portable writing device formats. You likely get a full-width keyboard that’s also mostly full height, but that ends up being less bulky than a device with a full size keyboard. Even if this thing weighs a bit more than an Alphasmart, it might be a little easier to carry around.
It also might have more usable screen than a Neo, though it’s impossible to tell from the pictures. If the bit of the screen with EA Poe on it can take text instead, then that’s a big plus. It makes it more like the screen on the Alphasmart Dana, which has a lot less battery life than the Neo.
The biggest advantage of an Alphasmart, IMHO, is that there is an apparently limitless supply of them available on EBay, and you can buy 8 to 12 of them for the likely cost of the Traveler.
This is a very exciting product. I’ve been looking for something like this iteration for a long time. However… it’s still giant. It’s less giant than the original, sure. And I understand the probable reasoning. There’s probably a lot of off the shelf parts used to cut costs, that same thing probably keeps that relatively small screen. And a full size keyboard adds size. And full keys with deep travel, also large. I get it. I still want one. But I notice these things.
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