About this project
The Hemingwrite is a distraction-free writing tool. It combines the simplicity of a typewriter with all of the modern conveniences of living in 2014: cloud documents, e-paper display, and full-size mechanical keyboard.
Laptops and iPads are multi-purpose devices loaded with games, social media, work email, funny cat videos, and those birthday photos you still need to edit. Like many of you, when we tried to get down to writing, we quickly found ourselves down a YouTube rabbit hole which we rationalized to ourselves as research. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you are not alone!
As our computers and phones get more powerful, we become less productive.
This is why we built the Hemingwrite, a single-function alternative.
The Hemingwrite combines the best features of all previous writing tools with the addition of modern technology. It is dedicated like a typewriter, has a better keyboard and battery life than your computer and is distraction free like a word processor. Finally, we sync your documents to the cloud in real-time so you never have to worry about saving, syncing or backing up your work.
Turn off your phone and laptop, grab your Hemingwrite, and find your typing space.
Professional quality hardware
We think a dedicated tool should be as durable as it can be! For this reason, we chose to use only the best components for our first product. The Hemingwrite is rugged enough to join you wherever you find your muse -- on the road, at the cabin, or at the pub.
It features a daylight readable, high contrast electronic paper screen for writing indoors, outdoors, in the daytime or at night. (Good luck trying to write on the beach with a high-gloss LCD!)
The Hemingwrite features a 4+ week battery life with typical usage. Can your laptop do that?
We have included the highest quality mechanical keyboard switches for the happiest fingers – remember those old keyboards with great tactile feedback? This is like that but better.
It is all wrapped in a beautiful, lightweight aluminum housing with built-in handle.
Pledge your support
We need your help! Pledge now to push the project into production to receive one of the following awesome perks:
Want to buy a Hemingwrite as a gift for the holidays? We are offering a Secret Santa opportunity for backers that pledge early. While we are not shipping the Hemingwrite until 2015, we want to give you something special for this holiday season. Complete the optional $5 purchase here and we'll send you a small souvenir to keep for yourself or give as a gift to tide over the recipient until the Hemingwrite starts shipping next year. (Order must be received by December 19 11:59am EST, Domestic US purchasers only.)
Your New Writing Routine
The Hemingwrite fits into a routine that many writers find critical to their workflow: separate drafting and editing sessions. First, you draft, going from start to finish. Then, you review and make edits later.
You can backspace and review your work with page up/page down, but there is no copying and paste. The intent is to force you to just keep going! If you aren’t happy with what you just wrote, you can write it again -- just like everyone had to before 1979 (and the debut of WordStar).
Fortunately, the addition of cloud syncing to the Hemingwrite enables you to move from composition to editing with ease. After you have finished your first draft, simply open up your computer and all of your work is automagically synced. Begin revisions in your favorite editor of choice, whether that is Microsoft Word, Evernote, or Google Docs.
Super simple software
There are no settings menus, popup notifications, or toolbars on the device. As soon as you turn it on, it is ready to go. It is just you and a clean slate. Just start writing! The Hemingwrite works right out of the box with no manual required.
We included only the essential features needed for drafting and excluded everything else. Wherever possible, we tried to emulate the simpler writing experience of a typewriter and stayed away from the excesses of modern word processing software.
There is no mysterious user interface to learn before you can start writing on your new tool.
Instant On – The Hemingwrite is on in a flash and instantly ready to go. You don’t have to open writing software or close distracting apps. Sit down and just start typing.
Folder Navigation – Work on three active documents at one time. Folders are chosen quickly and easily using the left selector knob. Pickup exactly where you left off.
Page up, page down – Review your previous work easily with dedicated page up and page down buttons. The status screen shows you exactly where you are in your documents. Simply start typing again to continue from where you left off.
Status bars – A choice of status bars can be cycled through with a dedicated keyboard key to provide you with additional feedback about your work. Show your word and character count or start up a basic timer. Blank is also an option for even fewer distractions.
Quick wifi for cloud documents – Connecting to a new wifi network is very simple. The right selector knob has three positions to control the wifi radio: OFF, ON, and NEW. Move the selector knob to ‘NEW’ to have the Hemingwrite scan for available networks. Pick one and put in the password to connect. Once you are connected, move the knob back to ‘ON’ and you will start syncing. Move the knob to ‘OFF’ to turn off the wifi and save battery. Don’t worry, all of you work is saved locally to the machine and will automatically be pushed to the cloud the next time you are connected.
Rock solid back-end
The cloud-connected Hemingwrite saves all of your documents effortlessly and automatically to our online web application, Postbox. From Postbox, you can setup your Hemingwrite to automatically sync your documents to any of the productivity applications you are already using like Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs.
Write your first draft on the Hemingwrite, then shift to your desktop or laptop for final editing: your document is automatically downloaded for a seamless transition.
Our core offering includes document storage integrations for Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, iCloud, OneDrive, ownCloud, and SpiderOak. You decide where you want your documents saved.
The Hemingwrite includes a dedicated Send key right on the keyboard.
Print jobs are simultaneously emailed to you as a PDF attachment (useful for quickly sharing drafts with writing peers!) and queued for printing in your account on Postbox. After a one-time setup, your printer is linked to your digital Postbox account to receive print jobs and process them whenever your Hemingwrite is connected to the internet!
We expect it to be useful for quickly printing drafts that can be edited in paper form (with your new commemorative Lamy Safari fountain pen perk!).
By connecting the Hemingwrite to the internet via Postbox, we are able to do powerful things like process markdown on the fly to convert plain text into a fully formatted document.
We intend that the core integrations with Google Docs, Evernote, and others are only the beginning. Our software platform will be open and available for further development by the community of users.
For web developers, Postbox provides a secure REST API for third-party applications to interact with your documents when permitted by you.
And for software developers, we will be providing an open software development kit (SDK) to further customize the user experience of the Hemingwrite itself. We can't promise what future third-party plugins will be developed, but for those of you that require tighter Final Draft or Scrivener integration, the open platform can accommodate you. (we are also keen on seeing the first Vim environment!)
We have heard from so many of our friends from around the globe that we put a whole section here for international buyers. The first answer to your questions is yes, we will ship around the world! Additional postage will be required to cover the costs to get a Hemingwrite to you from the States and you will be responsible for any tariffs/duties from your country.
The Hemingwrite will be available in an ISO keyboard layout that should be what you are accustom to on your home computer. You can select this option in the survey after the Kickstarter. The ISO layout has a larger Enter key and adds an extra key next to the left shift button.
We will also provide keyboard mappings for as many languages as we can. This means you will be able to choose your language at time of setup and you will have all of the special letters and diacritics you need to type in your native language. Need an umlaut (ö) or a tilde (ñ), no problem!
UPDATED (see below) - At the time of this writing, we will commit to supporting the following languages: German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Turkish
UPDATED (see below) - If your language is not listed above, let us know! Depending on interest and funding, we will look to support as many languages as possible including Dutch, Danish, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese and others!
Stretch Goal 1 ($300k) - additional language support
We already promised keyboard language support for English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Turkish. However, we left some important ones out! For our first stretch goal at $300,000, we will support the following additional languages:
We conceived the idea for the Hemingwrite in March of this year and quickly moved into development mode. What started as a side project for both of us has turned into our full-time focus. After quietly putting some renders online for a hardware contest, the world caught wind of the project and after thousands of emails, we felt compelled to get this product out into the world! It has been a complete whirlwind.
We have been so humbled and surprised by the attention we've received to date for our unusual, single-purpose writing tool, and are ready for the next steps. We've pushed our prototypes as far as they can go -- and now we're asking you to help us kickstart the Hemingwrite!
Our funding goal of $250,000 will be used to cover the costs for refining our engineering for manufacturing and fixed costs to get us into production. Funds exceeding our goal will go toward making the Hemingwrite even better with expanded software to accommodate more third-party tools like Final Draft and Scrivener. Everything will be relayed to our backers regularly so that you stay in the loop throughout the process.
Adam Leeb – Mechanical Designer – Adam is a graduate of MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and a focus on product design. His experience is diverse across design, finance and entrepeneurship. He is a constant tinkerer and loves to develop unique consumer products.
Patrick Paul – Software Developer – Patrick is a Michigan State graduate and full-stack software developer. He is the developer for the on-board software as well as the Postbox web application. He has also worked professionally in international development and rooftop solar.
We have come far with our efforts but it hasn’t been without help! We are very thankful for the myriad of contributors that have provided support during the prototyping phase of this project.
To push the Hemingwrite into production, we have lined a up a leading manufacturing group with decades of experience getting products to market to work with us. We will also tap other experts in specific fields to make sure we have the best possible product for you.
As Seen In
- Projected 4-6 week battery life
- 1 million+ page memory
- Full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX keyboard switches available in US ANSI and international ISO layouts
- ~6” E-Paper display
- Durable, lightweight aluminum housing
- Approximately 4lbs
- 8”L x 10”W x 2.5”H
Risks and challenges
The beauty of the Hemingwrite is that it is not a complicated product by today’s electronics standards. Unlike the latest laptop or fitness wearable, we are not trying to create the fastest, slimmest, lightest, most powerful product in the world. However, there are some risks and challenges associated with creating anything that backers should be aware of:
Fulfillment – Mail gets lost, trucks crash, ships lose cargo and people make mistakes. Logistical errors happen and can result in delays or extra expense.
Supply chain – There are limited sources of electronic paper screens and mechanical keyboard switches. While we have already established relationships with these vendors, there could be unforeseen circumstances that prevent us from getting the specific technology we want into the product.
Design – sometimes we dreamed too big and the design needs to change. We are admittedly still early in the manufacturing process and the design will certainly be tweaked as we go. However, we will attempt to keep it as similar to the prototypes as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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