Any swamped student, working writer, or new novelist can attest to the ever-tempting distractions that come from writing while connected to the internet.
The urge to browse YouTube, check email, or squeeze in a quick round of Hearthstone can outweigh the need to finish a thesis paper that’s due tomorrow, or a first draft of that Great American Novel™. That’s where the Astrohaus Freewrite comes in.
Claiming to be the “world’s first smart typewriter,” the Freewrite hopes to eliminate 21st-century distractions in order to bring out your inner Melville, King, Rowling or Meyer.
However, that power comes at a price – $549.99 (about £392/AU$764), to be exact.
Ironically, it’s the features that you’re not paying for that the Freewrite touts most proudly. Dubbed a “distraction-free writing tool,” the portable word processor features no apps, no spellcheck, no notification center, nor a way to even edit. It’s just you, the keyboard, and the screen.
Originally backed on Kickstarter in 2014 as The Hemingwrite, the Freewrite isn’t a total Luddite. It uses cloud connectivity to back up your work as you type, syncing it to your choice of Evernote, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
The machine also sports an e-ink screen that’s legible even in direct sunlight, a mechanical keyboard for a satisfying retro clickety-clack, and an advertised battery life of four weeks – all great features for those who like to vanish into the woods for a month and emerge with a completed manuscript.
The idea of writing sans-sidetrack sounds appealing, but we imagine shelling out $550 for a machine that could be emulated by turning the WiFi off on your tablet will be a high hurdle for the average consumer.
Thankfully, Astrohaus is offering a $100 discount for the next 24 hours in celebration of Freewrite’s launch to help those on the fence teeter towards taking the plunge and, hopefully, being able to get that screenplay done.