October 28, 2014

The typewriter that backs up your work in Dropbox: the “Hemingwrite”


hemingwriteMIT graduate Adam Leeb and software developer Patrick Paul of Detroit, Michigan designed a typewriter with e-ink, wi-fi, and cloud storage. The catch? It’s getting a lot of attention before it’s even in production.

Called the Hemingwrite, it’s a beautifully designed Word processor that you might call retro, just a hair shy of Steampunk. There’s an aluminum case and a little handle on the top. It has a six-inch e-ink screen and a battery life of six weeks or more. Brilliantly, everything is backed up with Evernote (you don’t have to worry about losing the only copy of your manuscript), and it’s compatible with GoogleDocs and Dropbox.

Michael Kozlowski of GoodeReader explains:

The Hemingwrite is designed to aid both the new and established writer by providing a robust writing tool that completely removes all distraction from our daily connected lives. Wifi connectivity has been included to sync to the cloud but without a browser or email client there will be no playing angry birds or checking email. The Hemingwrite is designed for one thing and one thing only: putting words on a page.

Critics like Adi Robertson at The Verge confess that they hate themselves for liking it:

It’s the entire gestalt of nostalgia, self-help, and conspicuous, generic literary fandom that it evokes. It makes me want to be elitist and anti-intellectual at the same time. Except that as an idea, I love it.

…I’m not sure how much I’m willing to spend on a more convenient version of a half-dozen writing implements I already own. And I’d honestly feel a little embarrassed answering somebody’s innocent “what’s that?” with “Oh, it’s a Hemingwrite.”

The creators are sharing it at the Engadget Expand Conference in New York City on November 7-8. But the demand from consumers is already high: they had 50,000 unique visitors this week, and writers are responding to it. (Who will be the first author to declare publicly that they write on one of these? Hugh Howey?)

Alexander Chee is spot on, as usual:

Screen shot 2014-10-27 at 5.42.30 PMLove this dry humor (I hope it’s dry humor?) from Ron Hale-Evans, too:

Screen shot 2014-10-27 at 5.38.43 PMThe best feature? The device not owned by Amazon.com.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.