back to article ReMarkable emits Type Folio keyboard cover for e-paper tablet

Norwegian e-ink tablet maker reMarkable has launched the Type Folio, a keyboard cover, causing one Reg hack to feel strangely conflicted. Close up of the reMarkable folio keyboard Close up of a reMarkable folio keyboard The new Type Folio is a $199 (£165) keyboard cover for the reMarkable 2 e-ink tablet. It is interesting …

  1. TonyJ

    I have a Remarkable 2

    First off - it absolutely does NOT come with a stylus in the price, and that is one major issue I have with the company - the device itself isn't that expensive but the add ons are grotesquely so.

    The "basic" stylus which you can write with but not erase with is £59. The "plus" which has the eraser capability is £109.

    Extra nibs for the stylus are £14 for 9 or £34 for 25 and a folio is anywhere between £59 and £149 - and that's the ones without a keyboard.The type folio with it is currently discounted to £139 down from £179.

    However, as someone who has always preferred to handwrite notes, it is a thing of beauty to actually use. Yes, it's clearly NOT writing with a pen on paper but the pencil on paper thing is a fairly close analogy, assuming it's a single piece of paper on a hard surface.

    It's horses for courses of course - you don't need any of the accessories other than a stylus when all said and done.

    But also, like the author of the piece, I am not sure a keyboard will work well with a device designed to be written on. Time will tell but I won't personally be getting one any time soon (ever).

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: I have a Remarkable 2

      I got mine in December 2020 and would agree with all of the above, especially the problem of expensive accessories. I got the stylus with eraser which is like a pencil with a rubber attached and works very well, but it was a wince making price. I use mine mainly for marking up existing documents and for reading PDFs on. Resizing and moving the viewport on enlarged documents have been a bit ropey in the past but the latest revision seems to have sorted out most of the problems. Like TonyJ I probably won't get a keyboard for it, I'd use my desktop or Chromebook for that sort of work because when doing anything that requires typing I usually need a browser open as well.

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        Re: I have a Remarkable 2

        > Resizing and moving the viewport on enlarged documents have been a bit ropey

        That's exactly what's wrong with the PDF viewer on my tiny screened Sony eReader, and it's so easy to fix at the design stage: two extra physical buttons to zoom in and out over the top, plus a higher zoom level. But once again aesthetics have triumphed over function. Yes I know nobody cares about using old devices, but this Sony eReader is very close to being useful PDF reading-wise, and it staggers me that the creators of a modern device such as the ReMarkable, initially made such a daft basic error (now apparently fixed). An advantage of a BOOX over the ReMarkable, is that you have a wide choice of reading apps in the Play store, or you can cook your own.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: I have a Remarkable 2

      The stylus that you pay extra for is a piece of crap. It is extremely fragile, mine broke after a couple of weeks.

      You can buy something like Staedtler Noris pen. It works great, has a working eraser and it only costs like £40 on Amazon.

      1. TonyJ

        Re: I have a Remarkable 2

        I'll be honest my stylus is fine.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: I have a Remarkable 2

          My replacement stylus I got after RMA is also fine, because it is on a shelf and I have not even opened it.

      2. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        Re: I have a Remarkable 2

        > The stylus that you pay extra for is a piece of crap. It is extremely fragile, mine broke after a couple of weeks.

        > You can buy something like Staedtler Noris pen. It works great, has a working eraser and it only costs like £40 on Amazon.

        Does the 0.7mm point of the Staedtler Noris pen leave marks on the screen? Ideally, the material used to make the pen's point, should be less hard than whatever material the screen's writing surface is composed of - presumably ReMarkable's own stylii are designed with such in mind? A harder pen point could risk screen erosion?

        1. Concrete Gannet

          Re: I have a Remarkable 2

          Yes, the Remarkable stylus is deliberately designed to be soft and wear down over time, to give pencil-like feel and to avoid any scratching of the screen. The downside is you have to replace the stylus nib periodically, but it's a sensible design decision.

          I don't know about the Staedtler, but I understand your concern.

      3. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: I have a Remarkable 2

        Thanks for that suggestion.

        Although it is a little disturbing to see that Amazon UK are offering the Staedtler Noris pen on its subscription model:

        Does this mean its resemblance to the classic pencil is so convincing that you'll keep chewing the end off?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I have a Remarkable 2

          Yes, it is tempting to chew the top.

          The Noris pencil stylus uses points that are soft and wear down. It comes with three spares. I’ve lost my spares!

          I use one with the Onyx Boox 13. This is a bit clumsy in e reader mode but comes into its own with pdfs of academic papers.

          Then it really excels on nice summer days when I want to sit outside and work because it has a hdmi input and doubles as a monitor.

          It also has Bluetooth so any BT keyboard and mouse can drive the Android OS directly.

          Distraction free is great but I need the web at hand for research. I drive it with a Raspberry Pi 4, it’s as close as I can get to my ideal e-paper or e- ink laptop.

          I am going to check out the remarkable again though, keyboard entry is making it interesting.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: I have a Remarkable 2

            Seems there's a remarkable 3 on the way.

            1. TonyJ

              Re: I have a Remarkable 2

              I believe that's just the software not a whole new device.

              1. TonyJ

                Re: I have a Remarkable 2

                Weird thing to downvote.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: I have a Remarkable 2

                  Somebody went through the posts here and downvoted every one. I wouldn't consider it a judgement. I'm still not sure why they do it, but it happens from time to time on random topics.

                  1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: I have a Remarkable 2

                    It's good to have a hobby, I suppose.

      4. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: I have a Remarkable 2

        The stylus that you pay extra for is a piece of crap. It is extremely fragile, mine broke after a couple of weeks.

        What on earth were you doing with it, trying to use it as a chisel or a pry bar? Mine's just over two years old, has had the run of the mill abuse that pens/pencils normally get and is doing fine.

  2. John Robson Silver badge


    So... what's the keyboard like?

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: And?

      It's like a really big bar of chocolate except that the segments move up and down and have letters marked on them.


      1. TonyJ

        Re: And?

        Thank you for that. It gave me a much-needed chuckle.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: And?

        I could only read that like it was a line from Airplane… “We have to get him to a hospital” / “A hospital? What is it?” / “It’s a big building with patients but that’s not important right now”

      3. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: And?

        Thank you … needed that.

        Still disappointed that no review sample could be procured.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    The major flaw of reMarkable is that it does not offer encryption and it does not have any security whatsoever (password is easy to recover).

    So treat it like a regular notebook, that if lost or stolen anyone can read everything that is on it.

    This means it is not suitable for professional work.

    That being said, this device is absolutely amazing. Really feels like scribbling on paper.

    1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

      Re: Purpose

      > The major flaw of reMarkable is that it does not offer encryption and it does not have any security whatsoever (password is easy to recover).

      > So treat it like a regular notebook, that if lost or stolen anyone can read everything that is on it.

      > This means it is not suitable for professional work.

      I have no issue with "Simple", but draw the line at "Daft as a brush".

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Purpose

      "it is not suitable for professional work"

      Aside from the myriad of professional work use-cases where it's not prohibited to use a regular notebook, lab book, or even scrap bits of paper if that's all you have to hand when inspiration strikes and you need to make a note of something... So long as the user is aware of this lack of security, and doesn't go assuming that just because it's digital it magically offers more security than physical paper would, then I really don't see the problem.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Purpose

        There may not be a problem, but consider removing some corner cases from your list. For example, in a situation where you can write in a notebook and not take it out of a secure location, this tablet would have to remain inside the secure location as well. Also, since it has an upload feature (I don't know how secure that is), that adds another asterisk to the security that the users should understand.

        It can still be suitable for use cases as long as users understand the limits. Still, I wouldn't have thought that meaningful encryption would be too hard a feature to add.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Purpose

          Well yes, that was rather implied in my earlier comment - I wasn't suggesting that anywhere which allows use of paper notepads would necessarily have no restrictions on how they could be used, merely pointing out that since paper IS used in many professional contexts, it's rather bizarre to suggest that a ReMarkable would be unsuitable for professional work due to it's paper-like security model...

  4. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    I don't trust Amazon to not suddenly erase my reading material willy nilly, or shove utter crud into "My" Kindle, if I got one - reading PDFs is a pain using my Sony PRS-T2, screen's too small, but for ePubs it's fantastic.

    I tried a 10.1" Lenovo M10 Android tablet for PDFs, but short battery life and heavy weight was a pain, besides I never know what the heck Lenovos might be doing surreptitiously to further the Chinese Government's famous secret World Domination Plan (I've applied electrical tape squares over the cameras - there is no hardware switch for the microphone(s?) and I should rip it/them out), so I've recently been trying to read PDFs using my newly upgraded old 8" Sony VAIO P, which now has a fast and much larger mSATA installed in lieu of it's original slooow and tiny hard drive and... it's a pain because of it's madly proprtioned screen:1600 pixels wide and 768 pixels high, for which there appears to be no other resolution available which fills the screen and doesn't alter the geometry of very localised space-time, making the lettering look like it's being stretched to the side by a passing micro-black hole... and the interface of PDF reading applications are so damned tiny when aspect ratio is correct, at 1600 X 768, I have to use a screen magnifier (Windows>Accessories etc, Magnus in Linux), in order to see anything of the miniscule controls to enable further reading... plus controlling the mouse is a pain, unless I use my Logitech M570 wireless trackball... but happily battery life is now over five hours (thanks to the mSATA, was a little under four hours when reading, before upgrade)... so I was looking at the ReMarkable last week, but the moment I saw the stupid pricing for the styluses, at silly extra, I made a nasty ReMark and smelled a rat; it wasn't in my kitchen.

    I continue looking out for a cheapo deal on an OONX BOOX, which supports the widest variety of file formats, and has a significantly larger screen than my Sony PRS-T2. It's a pity Sony exited the eReader market, because despite being too small for PDFs, in many other respects the Sony PRS-T2 is an excellent reading and note taking device, and not their only success in that space. Sadly, I don't have the version with the hackable firmware, which allows installation of a full version of Android - if their screens weren't too darned small, I'd find one.

    1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

      I might just hate reading PDFs, and should simply quit trying? I much prefer physical documents - it's harder for history to be rewritten to make crappier futures, while there are sufficient numbers of physical records in existence, or it would be if were not for our human biases being exploited by app and content delivery network design and use, combined with ever poorer standards of education, leading to increased frequency of society-altering bullshit storms. Humanity is kinda fooked.

  5. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    not heartbroken, yet heartbroken

    "For this correspondent, it's a heartbreaking example of 21st century technology: discarding all the ambitious dreams and aspirations of the 1990s, and delivering something simple and relatively stupid, but which just works and is comparatively cheap. (p/) It's an established, successful model."

    I don't find that heartbreaking. Indeed, it's the Unix philosophy expressed in end user devices. And I would _rather_ have multiple small, cheap, does one thing well devices than one large, expensive, does everything but not quite the way I intended device.

    I'm just heartbroken that they break the one thing paradigm by *always* adding a network for the purpose of *always* invading my privacy.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: not heartbroken, yet heartbroken

      The Unix philosophy works well in software because there's relatively little cost to having multiple programs in one computer. If I write one utility or two to do a set of tasks, the resulting binaries are likely about the same size as the combined one, and all you have to do if you are using them together is set up the communication between them.

      That doesn't work so well with hardware. Let's say that I have implemented a Newton-like system for interpreting handwriting and you'd like to use it with this tablet. Too bad, you can't. That's not exactly true, of course. You can upload all your writing to a server, either a cloud-hosted one or one in your own house, have it perform the operation, and sync the results back down. That adds lots of latency, because now the software won't be running in real time. It also adds dependency on whatever communication system is used to do the transfer. This isn't a problem if you don't want the feature, but there are benefits to combining features in hardware that are much smaller when all the components are software. This is why we have the general purpose computer instead of the electromechanical calculator, word processor, and digital document communication device on our desks.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All out of stock with 'supply issues'

    The website states that it could take a long time before they're back in stock. Shame, looked like an interesting and far more portable solution, also because the tablet does not seem to contain any other functionality.

    In other words, no distractions.

  7. doublelayer Silver badge

    Good reasons, or just reasons

    "Yes, it [the Planet Computers Gemini] runs an old version of Android, but there are good reasons why it wasn't updated,"

    I read that article. As far as I can tell, what you're calling "good reasons" consist of the following:

    1. MediaTek can't be bothered.

    2. Planet can't be bothered.

    3. Planet couldn't be bothered to think about this when they chose to use MediaTek components, nor could they be bothered to think about this when they chose different MediaTek chips for their next two products, neither of which will get meaningful software support either.

    Software support doesn't have to be a major issue. For example, if this writing tablet didn't get a lot of new features, that might be fine if it's really designed to have few features. Not so for something that is running a full operating system with access to plenty of sensitive data. We should not accept this lapse in software support that leads both to insecure software running on many users' devices and premature generation of waste electronics. We definitely shouldn't claim there are good reasons for the lack of the support just because the hardware is cool. I'd like that hardware, but that does not exonerate the manufacturer from what they've done with it.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

      Sailfish by Jolla on the Gemini’s still fully supported and has the two updates this year alone.

      Sailfish is extremely good on the Gemini, i am still using one today. It does have a Linux shell and an active repository. I can write and compile with GCC and g++. I can write Python on it.

      I disposed of Android immediately and went with Sailfish, this wasn’t available for the follow up devices Cosmo and the disastrous Astro slide so I stuck with Gemini thankfully. Gemini was peak Planet.

      They are now attempting to fund the outstanding Astro production with a campaign for a mini Linux desktop with ARM SOC which is neither price nor performance complétive with the M1/2 Mac Mini.

      It’s not going well.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

        That helps a bit. As I haven't used Sailfish before (I have never had one of the few supported devices), I tend not to include it. Still, the Android software is what they ship it with, and unless I'm misinterpreting their rough Linux page, the software from which the Linux versions get their kernels. This means that, by failing to update their Android images, they're not only leaving the users of the Android software with insecure software, they're artificially hampering their Linux users as well, and given that a quick check on Wikipedia confirms that Salefish is also using Linux, probably that too.

        This would be bad enough if they had just dropped the product and expected users to buy a new model if they wanted something newer, but no. They're still selling Geminis (although not ones with English keyboards, so if you want one, maybe one of the other languages for which they evidently made too many is close enough). They've built a computer, with the software update requirements of any computer, and they're now failing to meet those requirements. As much as I like the concept, and I find all their hardware at least somewhat enticing, that's not something I will support.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

          Sailfish developed out of Meego which was Nokia and Intel development of Maemo linux. Its'a linux kernel but one some devices, including Gemini, it uses libhybris to adapt to hardware where only android drivers exist..

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

            Exactly, which means that by not updating those components, Sailfish will have to navigate around the older Android components. I'm not sure if that's why the page on Gemini OS support says that Sailfish is using version 3.0 while the Jolla website informs me that version 4.0 has been out since early 2021. Maybe that's not the reason that it's still on 3.0, but still, I'm getting indications that the Gemini is stuck on older versions of software on all of its operating systems despite being actively sold by its manufacturer right now.

            This would not be considered acceptable with other hardware. If Microsoft informed you that your laptop just wasn't going to be supported, so no Windows updates, and not for any technical reason but just because they didn't feel like it, it wouldn't be normal. When we buy X86 kit, we generally know years in advance before it will be dropped by Windows* and it's basically certain that the hardware will break by the point that it's dropped from Linux. There's no guesswork, and if we find one running an old version of software with security holes, it's almost always because the user or administrator decided not to bother installing the updates rather than the manufacturer simply not providing any.

            * Windows does now drop support, but we were given four years notice that they would, and that applied to equipment that had already existed for two to three years at least. I'm still not happy about it. Before that, they would tell you that the hardware was likely not going to work, but you could insist on installing Windows anyway and it would try to run Windows 10 on your Pentium with 512 MB RAM. This appears to still be true, but their comments on the matter have changed.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

      Apart from software issues, the Gemini also had major hardware issues. I had to take it apart quite often and inevitably the display cables suffered, the display became unusable and the thing died. Software problems had turned it from a promising device into a brick. Planet is an example par excellence of an underfunded company.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

        My Gemini is of the original indiegogo campaign early bird batch and it hasn’t had any problems at all, despite regular use.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Good reasons, or just reasons

          All I can say is: lucky you. I had to rely on Planet for support and it was a fucking nightmare. Familiar enough to anyone who's worked for such cashflow-based businesses.

          If Andrew Orlowski had not interceded, I would probably have never got the German keyset I needed.

          It's a pity because the device had so much potential.

  8. brotherelf

    return -ENOREVIEW?

    I've seen one of the devices (sans keyboard) in action recently, and that looked quite nice. Notetaking, but without the running out of rustling paper. (Mind you, fairly niche.)

  9. KimJongDeux

    I got one in October 2020. Within a year it stopped taking a charge. There's no viable temporary workaround for ReMarkable unless you buy two; you have to go back to what you were using before you changed all your workflows. So I permanently went back to what I was using prior. Expensive kit behaving cheaply. There's not enough time left on earth to hope (a) this was a non-repeating glitch and so (b) I woudn't have to do it all again after some months with the replacement.

    1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

      Yet another ultra-thin device without a user replaceable battery, marvellous, if you love the taste of toxic chemicals in your coffee in the morning. I can't wait for the day when for right to repair is extended worldwide beyond just white goods, to all electronic products, and devices expressly designed to make repairs easy.

  10. 897241021271418289475167044396734464892349863592355648549963125148587659264921474689457046465304467

    The Meebok P10 Pro seems worth a look: £289 stylus included, Android 11, access to Google Play Store (after whitelisting, search online for process), supports several document formats.

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