My iPhone died this week. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, until my carrier here in the UK gave me the choice of a new iPhone 4 (yes, that’s the model from 2010 not the shiny new one) or a swanky new Android phone. When I saw a nice big, clear screen on the Android I jumped at it.
Now, those of you who follow my posts will no that I quite like to use technology to enhance my productivity. When you have two kids running around and pulling at your heels, anything that gets you through the day with a little bit less stress is fantastic. From mechanical keyboards to voice recognition, I’m a huge fan of using gadgets to improve both my writing and the amount that I can produce. So when my husband looked at my new phone and asked me why I hadn’t grabbed a Galaxy Note, I was bemused.
It turns out a friend of his has been using one for quite a while and I was intrigued. This is a freakishly large device, with a screen so big that when you hold it to your ear to use it as a phone it looks as though you have a dinner tray pressed up to it. As a somewhat petite woman, it’s not my thing. But, nevertheless, I had a play with his friends Galaxy Note and found it to be spectacular in its abilities to transform your writing into an e-book with very little effort.
Writing on a phone has never been something that appealed to me, although it is possible. Yet this type of device seems to bridge the gap between a phone and a tablet (they’re not calling these gizmos “phablets” for no reason). What blew me away was the ability to use the attached stylus (yes, a stylus! In 2013!) to write directly into the device and have it transform your scribblings into actual typed text. The accuracy was freakishly good, demonstrated by the video below, but even that doesn’t come close to how well it recognised my handwriting. It made me think – if I was in a coffee shop, or simply sitting in the car waiting for my husband to come back from somewhere or my children to come out of school, I can actually sit with this thing out and scribble out a few hundred words right there on the dashboard.
More importantly, those words could be translated into text to drag and drop straight into a Word document ready for e-book editing and production. It also got me thinking about the future of e-book reading. Although the screen on this device, at 5.5 inches, was too big for an everyday mobile phone, as an e-reader it was close to perfect. It didn’t have the weight or bulk of a tablet, yet didn’t suffer from the small screen of a phone – particularly my iPhone, which at 3.5 inches was starting to become too small for daily use.
Where are we going? Could this be the type of hybrid device that not only allows writers to produce work pretty much anywhere without having to carry around a Bluetooth keyboard but also gives readers the opportunity to have a perfect e-reading experience on their phone?