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Future Tech: 

Hemingwrite: Useful typing tool or just the latest hipster accessory?


Hipster checklist: Thick rimmed glasses, checked shirt, repurposed warehouse.

Between infinitely refreshing content feeds and the intermittent buzz of push notifications, modern writers don’t stand a chance. Even the most strong-willed of wordsmiths can struggle to stay distraction-free, but a new startup believes we may just be ill-equipped for the task.

Introducing Hemingwrite, a modern spin on the old-fashioned typewriter that hopes to replace the laptop as the writers’ weapon of choice. The device looks back longingly at a pre-internet era that affords writers the freedom to write, but, importantly, it keeps one foot rooted firmly in the present via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. So, the endlessly repeating animated GIFs and streams of adorable kittens may be gone, but you can at least keep your work saved securely within the cloud.

On first glance, we should hate this – right? Whether it’s the nostalgic clinging-on to long-outdated technology, the heavily stylised press shots or the romanticised view of the struggling writer ‘pulling a Thoreau’ by tapping away in a log cabin somewhere – alone with their thoughts. And yet, we can’t help but want to give Hemingwrite a go.

The thing is, despite its hipster associations and sigh-worthy name (as The Guardian points out, Hemingway wrote in pencil), Hemingwrite is a solution to an actual problem – or at least an attempted solution. It comes with an a 6″ E-ink screen that’s suitable in day or night, a million pages of memory so there’s no shortage of space and it syncs with everyday apps including Evernote and Google Docs. There’s also its ultra-low power consumption to consider and a tactile mechanical keyboard for ultimate satisfaction. So, could it be there’s some substance behind all that retro style?

The typewriter’s designers commented: “Writing is hard, really hard! For most of us that haven’t written anything since high school, we don’t have the ability to write elegant prose. We need all the help we can get.

“Wi-Fi 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.”

Although just a prototype for now, Hemingwrite is quickly picking up steam and its designers are now committed to bringing the product to market. So whatever you make of it, it looks like there’s still life in the old typewriter yet.

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