$99 NoteSlate looks perfect for students, scribblers

Had enough tablet news from the usual suspects? How about something completely different—the NoteSlate. Billed more as an e-paper device than a traditional tablet, the NoteSlate looks like a glorified notepad.

The device features a 13″ e-ink display with a 750×1080 display resolution. You’ll have to make do with monochrome, but there are a few options on that front. The NoteSlate will be available with a white screen and black pen or with a black screen and white, red, green, or blue pens. Any of those combos should be easy to read in direct sunlight, and I particularly like the white-on-black chalkboard look.

There’s no word on what sort of hardware lurks under the hood, but the system has a 3.5-mm audio jack, mini USB port, SD slot, and optional Wi-Fi support. Oddly, the product page specifically says that the NoteSlate won’t support web browsing. The NoteSlate’s firmware will be open source, so it’s entirely possible that and other features could be added at a future date. At least to start, it looks like the NoteSlate will be largely limited to capturing notes and other scribbles.

So, how much for this modern Etch-a-Sketch? Only $99 when the NoteSlate goes on sale in June. Throw in a claimed 180 hours of battery life and an ultra-slim design that’s a quarter-inch thick and weighs just over half a pound, and this looks like a great sidekick for students. At that price, I’d almost buy one just for doodling. Thanks to Tested for the tip.

Comments closed
    • Dazrin
    • 9 years ago

    They have added a bunch of content to their site for anyone who was interested.

    • puppetworx
    • 9 years ago

    Very cool if the ink can keep up with the speed of the pen movement. Especially if it doubled up as a pen input for your PC. Great idea, simple pen and paper, no software to get in your way. Love it.

    • jchung
    • 9 years ago

    I want one for my kitchen to replace the note/message board! But I want a larger version.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    Can’t wait to play Bejewelled on this. It’s gonna rock!

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    I’m actually quite interested in this. If I was still in college I’d buy one for taking notes. Hand written notes are definitely better for learning or for anything you actually want to remember.

    • Trymor
    • 9 years ago

    At $99, it looks like an awesome gadget, but has the distinct whiff of vaporware. The mockups on the site show a color version along with the black-and-white ones, and promise a “free Wi-Fi module on request with order”. The resolution (claimed as 100 ppi) seems low for E Ink, and the touting of no anti-aliasing as “one of our best features” is just plain weird.

    -Wired snippet.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    i’m sure it does well in sun light, but how well does it work in low light, ie. a lecture hall?

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      $5 LED clip-on light soon to be in the [s<]Apple[/s<] NoteSlate store... for $25.

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    If its functional… I’m getting one.

    I have allot of design scribbles that are not really worth scanning or cataloging,
    but if this thing can record the pages in a PDF ‘book’ and I can copy past the scribbles, I’m in.
    (I dont like the blank wacom tablets, and cant justify the one with built in display)

    This is the type of cool stuff apple cant do because the market is to small for them.
    To bad that It will take years for this to merge with conventional tablets…
    Surprising (not really, just disappointing) that the US department of education is not sponsoring this type of movement.

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    Note the white “basic” model is the only one they’re actually setting a price for. I wouldn’t be surprised if the others cost more (the 4 color model certainly will, if it actually comes into existence, but I expect they’ll charge more for the “cool” black version even if it doesn’t actually cost them anything extra to build).

    I picked up a Kindle during the Black Friday promotions when they were $89 (WiFi version, not the 3G). The screen is incredibly readable in any kind of light (and completely unreadable in the dark, because there’s no backlight). It has roughly the same overall size and thickness as this (smaller screen, tho, it would seem), and if you don’t use the WiFi you can use it for days, so while 180 hours sounds like a bit of a stretch I’d be willing to believe more than a week of 8 hour days, anyway (with the same no-Wifi stipulation). I”m not sure how useful WiFi is without a web browser — you could read documents off a file share (assuming there’s some kind of UI to let you connect to those), or possibly email it docs (again, with the appropriate software), but most likely it’s only there for doing some kind of sync. Then again that would still be pretty useful. The real question is how much memory and internal storage it has, because if it’s open source you know a browser is first on the list assuming one can get crammed in there. (There’s always the SD slot, I guess, assuming you can run programs out of there)

    I’m a bit unsure about their 3-button UI: if you take a lot of notes, that could get pretty limiting pretty fast. Though again, opensource may be able to take care of that. And what about character recognition? Searching notes, entering URLs in that hypothetical browser, etc, looks pretty difficult without it…

    Also: I’m amused that at one point on their web page they mis-orthographize their name as NotesLate. (“I couldn’t do my homework because my e-ink device ate my notes!”) D’oh!

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Great job answering your own questions…you want one, I know it 😉

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Never understood the appeal of taking notes via electronic device other than in typed textual format. Doesn’t everyone type a LOT faster than they handwrite? Even with mistakes the text you type is instantly indexed and transferrable to hundreds of other applications instantly.

    I always just put my notes in notepad, save to %mydocs%, and they are instantly available via start menu/etc when I need them…

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      While I [i<]generally[/i<] agree: How do you type standing up without any flat surfaces around? Not everybody is taking notes in a desktop / office / lecture hall / conference room setting. And there certainly are plenty of people who can handwrite faster than they can type (either one of my parents, for example, and my mother at least might use something like this since she's always scratching notes on scrap paper around the house). Heck at $99 you could imagine something like this just left by the phone (assuming you still have a landline) If you're taking a [i<]lot[/i<] of notes with it, though, you're going to need to upload them to something that can do character recognition, indexing, etc.

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        If the makers really want these to sell, software to do what you ask should already be included.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Gotta leave something for version 2…

          More seriously, this looks like a trial balloon as much as anything, like the art lebedev optimus keyboard back in the day. Put renderings out on the web with a bunch of text and see what kind of reaction it gets.

            • Trymor
            • 9 years ago

            Fair enough. I could see one of these in a thin ‘ring binder’. Flip this page, and you have a Kindle for reading. Flip the next page for the iPad… or something like that, at least until we have ‘one screen/input method to rule them all’ heh.

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      “Doesn’t everyone type a LOT faster than they handwrite?” – That seems to be a large assumption.

        • dmitriylm
        • 9 years ago

        This is also depends on what kind of notes you’re taking. Even in a class room with a proper desk there are certain courses that use symbols, graphs, charts, etc that are difficult to quickly reproduce on the computer. For certain courses I’ve abandoned the idea of typing notes even though it works great for others (and I prefer it as my hand tends to hurt after a rushed hand writing session).

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      I’m a math major. LaTeX on the fly? Nawsuh.

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        I’m a porn major. LaTeX on the fly? Nawsuh.

      • Bensam123
      • 9 years ago

      There is research showing that hand written notes is actually more beneficial and conducive to learning then typed notes. That includes both short and long term memory recall as well as being able to better understand the content.

      Typing is so easy that a lot of people just transcribe what they hear to a document and never actually try to process that information, hand writing forces you to at least think a bit about what you’re doing.

      For instance if you make a mistake on a piece of paper you actually look at it, you wonder why you made the mistake for at least a instant and you correct it or you just continue on. There is no auto-correction and changing the mistake requires more work and time processing the information then backspace.

      Even if computers are superior at getting information down (except for diagrams) that doesn’t necessarily coincide with how well we process information in that form.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    A very unique device. I’d like to see more diverse functionality out of it but really it is what it is and that is something unto itself. If it played music it could have some awesome function.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      It has an audio jack and an SD port, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered a rudimentary audio player. Even the Kindle can play MP3s

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        “If this device is indeed open source, that’s just a matter of porting”, if one isn’t very good, or included at all.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Well, it’s also dependent on what exactly is behind that audio jack. If the hardware is only (say) capable of mono sound, it won’t make for much of an MP3 player.

            • Trymor
            • 9 years ago

            True!, That would seem to be a huge over-site, if true tho.

    • Tumbleweed
    • 9 years ago

    If this was an Android device, the addition of Swype would make this kind of epic.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      If this device is indeed open source, that’s just a matter of porting (unless Swype is copyright or otherwise encumbered?)

        • Mithent
        • 9 years ago

        Swype is commercial, closed-source software as far as I’m aware.

          • Trymor
          • 9 years ago

          But when has that stopped everyone…

            • UberGerbil
            • 9 years ago

            Not to mention the potential for purchasing a license, either as an end-user or a sw developer.

    • Dposcorp
    • 9 years ago

    That pic reminds me a lot of the ThinkGeek Boogie Board LCD Tablet

    [url<]http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/techies/e330/[/url<]

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Now we are talking, price-wise!

    • dlenmn
    • 9 years ago

    That looks incredibly useful. The linked article says that picture is just a rendering; I hope it doesn’t suffer the fate of many render only devices announced months before their scheduled release. (Prince changes, spec changes, outright cancellation…)

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    This is very appealing indeed.

    It looks like PDF support will be coming too. And maybe more, as it’s running open source software.

    I think I could accidentally part with some money for one of these when it comes out.

    • Swampangel
    • 9 years ago

    Even if it only stores notes and maybe plays music, if the price and battery life are accurate, I’ll buy one in a heartbeat.

    • CampinCarl
    • 9 years ago

    This would be awesome if it supported display of .pdf and other presentation file types, so the user could annotate those.

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      That’s the killer feature. If it gets that, it’s exactly what I need for class next year.

    • willmore
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm, wifi and open firmware. I’d love to see my server logs scroll by on something like this.

    • provoko
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, very interesting.

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    Definitely looks like something that actually could be useful for note taking.

      • Dazrin
      • 9 years ago

      Agreed. I take a lot of hand notes in meetings and I also do a lot of relatively simple hand calculations that need to be scanned in later. If we can save each sheet (or better, groups of sheets) and export it/them to a PDF that would be awesome.

      And if they can keep the $100 price tag – wow!

      And then there is the art aspect…my daughter would love to play with this.

      I am looking at the UI and have some concerns though. They have only three buttons – save, erease (sic), and previous picture. I assume they will have something for going forward? Exporting? Locking an image? Copying a page?

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        Gestures…

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, this is pretty cool, can’t help but think it will be overshadowed though.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This