After having an Astrohaus Freewrite of my own for an all-too-brief review period, I can tell you from direct experience that a lot of people are interested in that clever and Armchair Arcade Editor’s Choice award winning product. Unfortunately for some would-be owners, not everyone can afford the Freewrite‘s current asking price, nor wants to wait until June for deliveries to start again after demand overwhelmed Astrohaus’s production capacity.
Regardless of whether you want to see if typewriter-like writing is for you, with its purposeful write first, edit later restrictions and mentality, or want to see how Postbox might integrate with your cloud storage service of choice (or, what I prefer, Evernote), Astrohaus has a new free Web browser-based app called Sprinter. It more or less replicates the Freewrite workflow I described in my review.
Here’s how Astrohaus describes Sprinter:
Sprinter is a distraction-free writing tool found directly in your browser. Best of all, it integrates directly with Postbox so documents are synced and saved there automatically. Right now, all Sprinter drafts go to Folder A.
The idea behind creating Sprinter is to introduce people to the concept of ‘distraction-free’ writing with as low a barrier as possible. While we can’t convey all of the awesomeness of using the Freewrite with a browser-based app, we tried to transfer as much design thinking we could into Sprinter. Since there is no way to have a true distraction-free experience in a browser, we implemented writing goals directly into the interface. By default, you start with a 15-minute goal which is meant to get quickly started and stay engaged despite being surrounded by the Internet.
In my limited time with Sprinter, I can say that it does indeed replicate a lot of what makes the Freewrite so compelling. Of course, as has been pointed out, you miss out on the distraction-free nature of the Freewrite, as well as the unique feel of the hardware (basically a modern typewriter without the paper part), but at least now there’s a way to demo what to expect. This is a shrewd move on Astrohaus’s part, and definitely a good indication that they’ll remain a leader in this niche, but compelling product category by introducing more people to a somewhat hard to describe, better to directly experience, process.