E-ink tablet maker “reMarkable” has now sold more than one million devices since 2017 and raised money at a valuation of $1 billion, indicating that its unusual minimalist reading- and writing-focused tablet is growing its market share despite competition with fully-fledged tablets like the iPad (via TechCrunch).
The Norway-based startup company, which employs more than 300 people, has announced that it achieved investment from multiple international investors at its $1 billion valuation last year. The company’s valuation comes after making revenues of $300 million and operating profits of $31 million in 2021. Founder and CEO Magnus Wanberg said that the company was now closing the investment as a “good indication, a signal out to the world.”
The reMarkable 2 launched in 2020, priced at $299, just $30 less than Apple’s ninth-generation iPad. While both devices tout their e-reading capabilities and can be used with a stylus accessory for notetaking and annotating PDFs, the reMarkable effectively only allows for reading and writing, with no other functionality. The reMarkable 2 includes features such as handwriting conversion, screen sharing, Wi-Fi connectivity, integration with cloud storage services, and more. Wanberg said:
The future of the tablet as we see it is in the direction that Apple and others are heading, a fusion of laptop and tablet forms… But our offering is a third device, a focussed space for books, drawing, and notes, where you can really avoid distractions and procrastination. That is our positioning.
With these specific purposes in mind, the reMarkable features an e-ink display that is gentler on the eyes than a display that directly emits light, a textured screen for a paper-like feel, and an ultra-slim design. The company claims that customers do not need to buy a new device for at least 10 years after purchasing a reMarkable tablet.
With an E-reader and you own and use it for quite a long time. In our business, it’s not a new-model-every-year dynamic. There is no emphasis on new model ownership. We don’t want to force our company to slap on some iteration for the sake of it. There is true innovation, major steps in terms of what we can offer the customer. We also think it’s great from a sustainability perspective [to move away from] pushing out new hardware.
The company says that its devices bridge the gap between pen and paper, and digital devices. While the reMarkable 2 is not a like-for-like iPad rival, the company’s rapid growth may indicate the emergence of a new mass market of e-ink “distraction-free” tablets dedicated to specific tasks.