A Canadian developer has launched a crowdfunding drive to finance an ambitious project to build a word-processing device aimed specifically at writers.

Between Computer and E-Reader: the Fusion Writer

Not quite an e-reader, not really a PC, the word-processor-plus which Canadian would-be author Ivan Samokish has set out to develop is a hybrid device based on a very simple idea: to build a computer which uses electronic ink.

Fusion Writer, as Ivan Samokish calls his brainchild, looks rather like a Mac but is powered by the Android operating system. It has a thirteen-inch screen and, according to its inventor, is specially designed for writers. It has built-in dictionaries, is ultra-thin and lightweight, guarantees two months of battery life and provides permanent autosave, i.e. anything you type will be saved automatically in real time – some of the features which might appeal to writers. It will moreover be waterproof – just a gimmick, or really useful for writers who tend to spill their coffee all over their work?

The e-ink screen seriously limits the multimedia potential of the device but Samokish claims this is a distinct advantage: no more distractions! The Fusion Writer is designed to aid writers’ concentration in every possible way, not least since electronic ink tires the eyes far less than a traditional screen display.

The project was launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site, a means of raising funds which is these days very much in vogue among innovative would-be entrepreneurs. The goal is to raise $50,000. However, at $600, the intended launch price might be rather off-putting, potentially further restricting an already-small target market. And will writers actually be prepared to give up access to web resources just in order to concentrate a bit harder?

In fact the Fusion Writer project serves to illustrate the dilemma facing the e-reader market as a whole. While Amazon is gearing its new Kindle to look and feel more like traditional paper, the Fusion Writer comes quite close to computer functionality. Even though they appear to encourage reading, e-readers are nevertheless struggling to gain acceptance among the younger generation. Meanwhile manufacturers looking for a new format to attract readers are constantly torn between imitating old-fashioned paper books and providing the convenient functionality of multimedia tablets.

By Guillaume Scifo