News  |  Opinion

Have I found a digital replacement to my typewriter?

Have I found a digital replacement to my typewriter?
Many of the younger demographics, may have never experienced the pleasure of using a mechanical typewriter. - File Photo
Click, Clack, Click. Clickety-clack!

A mechanical typewriter has unique sounds that makes it immediately identifiable.

Before the era of personal computers and smart devices, almost every office and household had one of these mechanical letter-writing machines.

My family used to own one of these mechanical typewriter too. It is a typewriter by the now-defunct German company Olympia, a gift my grandfather bought for my mother on her 19th birthday.

Olympia SM9, one of the typewriters crafted by the German company in the 1960s.
Caption: Olympia SM9, one of the typewriters crafted by the German company in the 1960s.

Many years later -- as a toddler -- I would eventually stumble upon the typewriter. It was the first and most beautiful typewriter I have ever seen. On many occasions, I have seen my parents typing on it and every time as I looked on, I was fascinated.

I still have a vivid memory of when I tried typing on it for the first time, fixing my gaze on the paper before I pressed the keys as hard as I could, while being attentive to how each letter magically appeared on a piece of paper.

Click, Clack, Click, it went ... it became one of my childhood plaything.

The tactile clickety sound of the typewriter has since deeply entrenched in my head until today.
Innovation brings back nostalgic clicks of Mechanical Typewriter

For many of us, we have transitioned from the typewriters (mechanical/ electronic typewriters) to personal computers (PCs). To even more of the younger demographics, they may have never get to experience a mechanical typewriter.

We now live in a world of softwares and mobile apps. We have gotten used to having the computer doing all the hard work at the back-end that we have accustomed to using softwares and apps with simplified user interface and minimalist design.

Anything that is clunky or complicated would be considered as a poorly made product.

But, even as we get ourselves immersed in the digitally-driven world, there are always room for the “old school”.

Have you heard of the “Qwertywriter”? It is a USB and Bluetooth enabled, 84 key, typewriter-
inspired mechanical keyboard that simulates a tactile clicky feel of a mechanical typewriter.

The Qwerkywriter is an 84 key, USB, Bluetooth enabled, typewriter-inspired mechanical keyboard
Caption: The Qwerkywriter is an 84 key, USB, Bluetooth enabled, typewriter-inspired mechanical keyboard. / Image Source: Kickstarter

The Qwerkywriter is an 84 key, USB, Bluetooth enabled, typewriter-inspired mechanical keyboard
Caption: The Qwerkywriter keyboard connected to an iPad. / Image Source: Kickstarter

The maker of Qwertywriter launched a Kickstarter campaign and successfully raised more than $120 thousand US dollars from the backers.

There are makers out there who are also vintage lovers and do not mind spending time to reimagine old tools using  new technology - and what a beauty the Qwertywriter is.

The Hanx Writer -- where the old meets the new

We all know who Tom Hanks is. From Forrest Gump to Captain Phillips, his contributor as an actor has never ceased to amaze me.

A professional with an adaptive nature, Tom Hanks caught on with digital and crafted an app, the “Hanx Writer” to share the pleasure of typing with like-minded beings.

On August 3rd, 2013, a year prior to the launch of Hanx Writer, Tom Hanks professed his love for typewriters in an opinion piece on the New York Times. In the article titled I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE.
Hear That?
Tom wrote, “the sound of typing is one reason to own a vintage manual typewriter — alas, there are only three reasons, and none of them are ease or speed.

In addition to sound, there is the sheer physical pleasure of typing; "it feels just as good as it sounds, the muscles in your hands controlling the volume and cadence of the aural assault -- that the room echoes with the staccato beat of your synapses.”

Compared to other apps, I wouldn’t say that I am blown away by Hanx Writer, but the novelty factor is there. Moreover, it definitely moved me at some point, or I wouldn’t have ended up writing this today.

I have to be honest, the app does a fantastic job emulating the look and feel of a typewriter in digital format.  A truly wonderful craft where old meets new!

The Hanx Writer app is free to download with a default typewriter “Hanx Prime Select” ready to go.
If you feel like owning additional typewriters of another design, Hanx 707 and Hanx Golden Touch are available to purchase at $2.99 US dollars each. Hanx Writer enthusiasts can also download the two typewriters (and unlock additional features) in a bundle at the cost of $4.99 US dollars. The price point is quite reasonable, I might add.

All three Hanx Writers are classy and very handsome-looking. The design, animations and the sound of the typewriters are so realistic that they resemble a real one.

The app successfully replicated all the features typewriter enthusiasts have come to associate with the tool, all except that the Hanx Writer allows user to remove any typing error.

And who would not love the distinctive printed letters achievable only by a typewriter! I’ll have to admit, I spent the first 10 minutes typing furiously on the app just to relive the sound of typing on a mechanical typewriter.

I can imagine using the Hanx Writer to create personal notes to my friends and family. Well, here’s my first draft on the Hanx Writer ... I can type on this all day!

My first draft on the Hanx Writer!
Caption: My first draft on the Hanx Writer!