Of the growing number of E Ink based e-note devices hitting the market, none provide as excellent a simulated pen-on-paper experience as the reMarkable tablet. But reMarkable isn’t Apple, and being a company that makes just one device isn’t easy, so new owners of reMarkable’s excellent E Ink tablet will now have to pay up to unlock all of its functionality.
reMarkable is introducing two paid subscription tiers that came into effect for new users of the company’s E Ink tablets starting yesterday. A basic Connect Lite plan for $5/month upgrades users with unlimited storage on the company’s cloud servers (the reMarkable tablet does its own thing to keep all your documents synced between it and computers and other mobile devices through apps), and an $8/month Connect plan includes unlimited cloud storage as well as integration with Dropbox and Google Drive directly on the tablet. The pricier plan also includes handwriting conversion (a feature originally introduced in 2018), screen sharing, and the ability to share files by email.
New users who choose not to pay for one of the plans will still get cloud sync functionality through reMarkable’s servers, but not for files that haven’t been opened or accessed in 50 days. In other words, it won’t be a place to hoard your digital documents unless you’re willing to regularly go through and open every last file before the 50-day countdown runs out. However, anyone who purchased a reMarkable tablet before yesterday’s cut-off will get free access to the full Connect plan and all of its features—hopefully for the life of their device. To help take the sting out of its business plan for new users, reMarkable is also offering $100 off the reMarkable 2 tablet for those who opt for the pricier Connect plan, plus $50 off accessories, which is useful because you actually need to buy the tablet’s stylus separately.
Although the reMarkable tablets are well-reviewed devices and much loved by many who’ve replaced paper notebooks with them, being a company that sells a single product is challenging, particularly with so many competing devices now available from larger, more established companies like Kobo that enjoy other revenue streams. There’s no online ebook store for reMarkable to fall back on, so moving forward this will provide another revenue stream for the company as it develops additional features and future devices. But if a reMarkable 3 is introduced one day, does it mean that existing users who want to upgrade will be forced into one of the subscription plans? We’ve reached out to the company to try and confirm how this will work down the line.
Update, 3:19 p.m. EST/EDT: reMarkable provided the following statement regarding whether or not existing users will be required to choose a subscription plan should they decide to upgrade to future versions of the tablet:
“We literally couldn’t have done this without you. You’re a huge part of our success as a young company, and we’d like to share it with you, say thanks, and invite you to our next chapter.
We plan to offer free access to Connect for as long as we’re able to. There are things we can’t control that might affect this, but if we make changes to Connect then we’ll work hard to offer you free access to whatever comes next as well.
We aim to give all our loyal early customers free access to Connect even if things evolve over time. We’ll strive to give you a comparable offer if we change our subscription service. We know this is a big change, but we believe it’s the best way to keep reMarkable innovating and develop both our hardware and software.”