For all the promises of the modern computer, focus is the one thing that none of them can deliver. For this reason many writers still turn to the typewriter or the word processor to get words on the page without distraction. These relics of the trade are still viable options because they are tools designed to do one job – write.
One popular choice for writers amongst these devices is the AlphaSmart Neo, a portable word processor that was designed as a simple and efficient writing tool. It was developed by Alphasmart, Inc., a company based in California, and was released in 2004. The Alphasmart Neo has since been discontinued, but it still has a dedicated user base who appreciates its straightforward functionality and long battery life.
The Alphasmart Neo measures approximately 12.4 inches (31.5 cm) in width, 9.6 inches (24.4 cm) in depth, and 1.7 inches (4.3 cm) in height. It weighs around 1.75 pounds (0.8 kg). The Neo’s casing is primarily made of plastic, providing a lightweight yet durable construction. The Alphasmart Neo is powered by three AA batteries, which can provide up to 700 hours of use. This long battery life is one of the most appreciated features of the device. The Neo features a monochrome LCD screen with a resolution of 40 characters by 8 lines. The screen is not backlit, but it offers good contrast and is easy to read under various lighting conditions. The limited screen size encourages users to focus on writing without distractions.
The AlphaSmart Neo is primarily designed for word processing. The device has eight dedicated file buttons, allowing users to switch between different documents easily. Files can be transferred to a computer via a USB connection, and the Neo is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. The device supports plain text files and has a storage capacity of around 200 pages of text.
History of AlphaSmart
The AlphaSmart company was founded in 1992 by Dr. Royden Leppert, a retired professor of electrical engineering who wanted to create a portable writing device that could help students with learning disabilities or physical challenges to type more efficiently and accurately. The first AlphaSmart device, called Dana, was released in 2001 and featured a Palm OS-based platform with a QWERTY keyboard, a small screen, and basic word processing software. It was marketed mainly to K-12 schools and special education programs.
The second-generation AlphaSmart device, called Neo, was released in 2003 and featured a simpler design with a larger screen, a faster processor, and longer battery life. It was also marketed to a broader audience of writers, journalists, and travelers who wanted a lightweight, durable, and affordable alternative to laptops or tablets. The Neo had a built-in software suite called AlphaWord that allowed users to create, edit, and save up to 8 files, each with a maximum capacity of 100 pages.
Where to Buy an AlphaSmart Neo or Neo 2
If you’re interested in buying an AlphaSmart Neo or Neo 2, you may have to do some digging online or offline to find one. AlphaSmart stopped manufacturing these devices in 2013. However, there are still some places where you can find used or refurbished AlphaSmart devices, such as eBay, Amazon, and local thrift stores.
Astrohaus Freewrite – Modern Alternatives to AlphaSmart Neo
Astrohaus is a technology company that has created a modern version of the word processor called Freewrite , a smart typewriter that keeps the simplicity of a word processor with modern connectivity that saves your words to the could. The Freewrite was designed as a tool to help writers and creatives stay focused and avoid distractions while working on their projects.
Astrohaus has recently announced a new product called Freewrite Alpha. The Alpha is priced at $349 and offers many of the features of the Freewrite and Traveler devices at a lower price. The Alpha boasts a full-sized mechanical keyboard equipped with Kailh Choc V2 low-profile switches.