A startup’s “tablet” gears up to take on Apple’s iPad – On my Om

Anjan Katta, founder of Daylight Computer

I am a tablet nerd. I have been since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad.

Tablets, especially the iPad, connect with me emotionally, much like my vintage fountain pen and notebook made out of Japanese paper. There is a reason why I use the iPad for most of my work, though lately, it has taken a backseat to a new device — the Daylight Computer’s Tablet.

This is one of the most talked about devices in Silicon Valley. It was created by Daylight Computer, a company started by Anjan Katta to solve his problem — he suffers from ADHD and wanted something that allowed him few distractions and allowed him to work with intent. The reason I am excited about that new tablet is because it is optimized around reading, writing, and productivity. This is very different from the tablets we have had so far.

Arun Venkatesan, founder of Carrot Fertility and a design-centric engineer, on his blog, writes:

At the original 2010 iPad launch, the majority of demos were entertainment-focused, with only a brief nod to content creation. Today, the data shows that the majority of time spent on tablets is indeed for entertainment purposes, not productivity.

Tablets, including the iPad, have largely become consumption-oriented entertainment devices, rather than the revolutionary productivity tools many had envisioned. Addressing this reality requires a more holistic rethinking of the tablet form factor and user experience – something the Daylight Tablet aims to change.

What the company has created is a beautiful tablet — about the size of a normal iPad Air. It is just a “little less than white,” white, with a gorgeous screen. It is very simple, elegant, and lovely. It has an e-ink screen, and the matte monochrome paper-like display is optimized for reading, writing, and note-taking. This is much less stressful on the eye and easy to use even in direct sunlight.

There is no camera — thank God!

It has all the usual networking options. I used it with my iPhone’s hotspot when sitting in the park. At home, I used my home wireless network.

Reading on this device, thus far, has been a joy, especially when sitting in the park. I use it to peruse articles I have saved on my Reader app (from Readwise), lots of papers (PDFs), and, of course, an occasional note I write to myself.

I used the browser and some of the specifically optimized apps such as Pocket. But it is mostly the browser. Much as I disdain Chrome on my desktop, it seems to be in perfect symbiosis with the device. I didn’t have much time with the device; I wish I had. The device I had in my hands was a prototype — and while it did have some other non-productivity apps, I didn’t care much about them. YouTube, for example.

Daylight uses a version of Android (much like other devices, say Oculus) and allows you to tap into the Android app ecosystem — so you can use social networking apps, but that would be pretty pointless.

For now, all I can say is that the team has done an amazing job so far, but a long journey awaits them, for we all know hardware is a hard game. This is an endeavor worth cheering for.

May 18, 2024. San Francisco.

Related Reading:

A Review of Daylight Computer’s Tablet, by Arun Venkatesan. The article gives you a deeper understanding of the why and the how of the Daylight Tablet.

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