Inside reMarkable 2 — chapter 1: the concept

reMarkable Blog
Published in
6 min readJun 25, 2020


This is the first chapter in our Inside reMarkable 2 series, documenting the creation of reMarkable 2, the world’s thinnest tablet. Chapter 2 can be found here, and chapter 3 here.

reMarkable CEO and founder Magnus Wanberg.

Liquid technology

If you took a plain white sheet of paper, and held it by one of the long sides, then dipped it slowly, carefully, just a centimeter or so into a bubbling vat of liquid technology, you might end up with reMarkable 2.

Holding up your creation as if it were a portrait, you’d now see an aluminum spine on the left side, binding the paper like a futuristic notebook. You’d be holding the next step in the evolution of paper tablets.

“I think a lot of people understood the design intention of reMarkable 1, but we wanted to raise the bar in a way, and also tell a story with the design of reMarkable 2,” says reMarkable CEO and founder Magnus Wanberg.

“While reMarkable 1 looked like a single page, by dipping it in tech you give reMarkable 2 this notebook look, and of course a notebook has multiple pages. A notebook is more than a blank page, implicitly it’s better.”

At 4.7 mm reMarkable 2 is the world’s thinnest tablet.

A new obsession

As soon as he could walk, Wanberg was drawn to technology and gadgets. In those early years, the family IBM PC and a Nintendo Gameboy had their keys and buttons worn away, which it turns out was a precursor of things to come.

By the age of 18, he was already building and selling computers out of his father’s garage. At the time, he was completely unaware that a new obsession would soon take hold… Paper.

As a university student, he found it hard to focus when working on a laptop. It was just too easy to go online or get distracted by emails, so he made a pivotal decision…

“I would leave my laptop and phone at home, I would print everything, all the practice exams, and bring just a stack of notebooks. Then I’d just stay on paper all day. There’s nowhere to go on paper,” he says.

Lightbulb moment

On paper he could think better, but by the time he was done with his master’s degree there were four big boxes bulging with notebooks and loose paper that he had no use for. It was then the idea for reMarkable started to develop: a better form of paper. Technology to help you think better.

“Paper is the best invention so far for better thinking, it’s so simple, easy to use, and forces you to focus, but those things aren’t necessarily linked to the material — they’re more about the method,” Wanberg explains.

Before reMarkable 1 shipped in 2017, 100 copies of ‘this is my last notebook ever’ were made. There would soon be no need for paper notebooks.

“At reMarkable we’re emulating paper, but we’re not trying to emulate its physical aspects necessarily, it’s more the qualities of it that make it so good for thinking.”

Standing over all that wasted paper, it struck him how much potential there was for technology that could take paper’s strengths as a tool for thinking, and improve them by merging them with the digital world.

“Paper clutters a lot and you throw away a lot… it’s so meaningless, you can’t reuse it, you can’t share it. I thought we could do better, and that’s what we’ve tried to do,” he says.

Take me with you

reMarkable 2 re-interprets and builds on a number of the paper-based features pioneered by reMarkable 1, like thinness for example. At 4.7mm reMarkable 2 is the world’s thinnest tablet. It’s an impressive feat of engineering, but there’s also pragmatic reasoning behind the design choice.

“We belong in people’s bags, and we’re replacing the notebooks and documents and books that you have there, and we’re very respectful that your bag has finite space,” says Wanberg.

“If people bring reMarkable 2 with them, then we stay in their workflows and we can help them think.”

In the above image, you can see the aluminum spine that runs down the left-hand side of reMarkable 2, creating the notebook resemblance.

As Wanberg elaborates, thinness isn’t the only attribute worth aspiring to. Paper is reliable. It always works and never runs out of battery. Inspired by those attributes, reMarkable 2 features a drastic improvement in battery life.

“Of course, at some point every digital device runs out of battery, but giving reMarkable 2 two weeks of battery and three months of standby time, means we’re much closer to that property of paper.”

“We’ve also halved the latency with reMarkable 2, which is an improvement you feel every time you use this device.”

Please, don’t interrupt

In the interests of better thinking and human-friendly technology, reMarkable’s new paper tablet also features a distraction-free design, without notifications or pop-ups, so that your train of thought remains undisturbed while you work. It’s a standpoint that’s very closely tied to reMarkable’s DNA, and something that’s of particular importance to Wanberg.

“We’ve taken a strong position on this, saying, you know what? We think social media isn’t good for better thinking, neither is open access to web browsers, or email. We want to create this nice, purified, streamlined workflow around thinking, ink on paper, and reading,” says Wanberg.

“To be able to focus, concentrate, and create, you need to be mentally present. That’s what we mean by human-friendly, we try to protect your focus and concentration.”

The second-generation CANVAS display features ultra-thin, high-friction surface materials that mimic the feeling of writing on paper.


While he says reMarkable 2 is more influenced by paper as a method, than paper the material, there are still plenty of paper’s physical qualities that clearly come through in reMarkable’s next-generation device.

One of the most appealing is how similar it is to writing on paper. This satisfying paper-like friction appeals to a range of people for different reasons, but according to Wanberg the popular feature is more about practicality.

“If you want your palm to be comfortable sliding across the screen all day while you write, we can’t use a slippery surface. That would be horrible, that wouldn’t be ergonomic.”

“Writing with a plastic stylus on a slippery surface is so low friction that your hand has to compensate, which is uncomfortable and leaves you with a stiff arm.”

Marker Plus has a second sensor in its top end, that you can use like a traditional pencil eraser.

Finishing touches

The last thing the team wanted to achieve with reMarkable 2 doesn’t really have anything to do with paper. Yet, looking at everything from Wanberg’s early influences to his time as a student, it fits. At university, even if it meant surviving on noodles, he was always eager to get his hands on the latest gadget.

So like Nintendo’s record-breaking Gameboy that captivated him as a kid, it was important to Wanberg that reMarkable’s next-generation paper tablet be a sought after device people wanted to have in their hands. Something with a high-tech appeal that would really feel at home in the modern technology landscape.

“With reMarkable 2 we wanted to make an object of desire. That’s not really related to better thinking, that’s just nice,” he says.

While reMarkable 2 takes cues from paper, the design also tells a story about a high-tech device purpose-built for the modern world.