Poor paper. It’s in that ironic category where those who love it the most are the ones trying their hardest to replace it.
Case in point: Sony and reMarkable, a pair of companies as unalike as you’re likely to find, yet with the shared mission of making a device that adequately serves the same purpose a few sheets of paper do. They have experienced mixed success, each working and failing in different ways; but these devices left me optimistic about future possibilities — while at the same time clinging tenaciously to my notebook and pen.
Both tablets rely on e-paper displays, most commonly seen in Amazon’s Kindle devices but which have found niche uses outside the e-reader world as they have improved in contrast and response time.
Both support a stylus and fingertip for input; both have an unlit monochrome screen; both are refreshingly thin and light (350 grams, 6-7mm thick); both have their own dedicated app; and both aspire to replace printed documents and scrolling through PDFs on your laptop. (Both are also rather expensive.)
Yet there are clear differences between the two: Sony’s Digital Paper Tablet DPT-RP1 (I’ll call it the DPT) is the size of an A4 sheet of paper, which combined with its lightness makes it somehow alarming. It’s hard to believe it’s an actual device. The reMarkable, on the other hand, is smaller (about 10″x7″) and a triplet of buttons on its lower bezel invite interaction. It’s equally light, but doesn’t give off that “how’d they make this thing” vibe. At least, not yet.