All I’ve ever wanted tech-wise for a long time is a simple word processor. Nothing fancy, just something that converts finger motions into characters that can be stored somewhere. Unfortunately, my tech needs have gone unmet by the computer industry. Through much fruitless searching, I learned that the market for people who want to just write with their devices is limited in scope. In fact, stand-alone word processors seem to be available only for typing classes and other educational purposes, cost hundreds of dollars, and don’t necessarily connect to typical word processing software.
But, finally, I’ve found a solution. I upgraded my phone recently to a Motorola / Droid Bionic. Like many Verizon phones, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity. I hooked it up to a Motorola wireless keyboard (intended it seems for the Xoom) and voila, I have the power to type into Evernote, email apps and more. The Bionic has a relatively large screen, so I’m also able to edit a bit. But even with an app that handles Office docs, I find that adding track changes and comments into the mix is just too cumbersome for a mobile device. There are other Bluetooth keyboards meant for business travelers — I handled at least one in an airport that was fold-able and full-sized — but the Motorola keyboard is small enough to fit into a carry-on bag.
All told, factoring in the contract and Verizon’s “new every two” policy, the phone plus the keyboard were much cheaper than an iPad, but more expensive than a netbook. And having my phone function as my word processor has a layer of convenience since my phone is always on my person.
There’s also a Bionic accessory — a “lapdock” — that connects the phone to a keyboard and embiggens the screen. At $300 this really didn’t seem worth it to me, especially since the keyboard was a bit on the small side. And at that point, I would have been better off (maybe) breaking down, buying an iPad and reverting back to a brick phone. (Razrs are still cool, right?)
The last nice thing about the Bionic is that Verizon has a case for it that comes with a “kickstand” built into the back that can prop the phone up for comfortable viewing.
I also learned that my older phone, an A855 Droid 1, didn’t want to connect to any Bluetooth-enabled keyboard. At one point, I even paid a Romanian guy for an app that allowed older phones to handle so-called “Bluetooth human interface devices.” But even after learning that PayPal can convert to Euros, I couldn’t get the phone to stay connected to a standard-issue Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard for more than a few minutes. Oddly, even when I got the Bionic, it didn’t want to play nice with the Microsoft keyboard, so I went for the Motorola keyboard and got lucky.
Now that I finally have the portable word processor I’ve dreamed of for lo these many years, I’ve mostly been using it for notes at meetings. Clearly, the magic of having a word processor doesn’t mean I’m going to bust out a novel any time soon, but it’s good to finally have something that works.