The Celtx screenwriting software folks sent me an email announcing V2.0 of their iPhone scriptwriting app (Celtx Script), and while it’s an impressive achievement, I have to ask:
Who’s writing on their iPhone?
My waterproof/ruggedized Casio Android phone is light years ahead of that ungainly fecal remnant that was the Blackberry Storm (guess who’s never buying another Blackberry anything), but my thumbs are porky and lazy, and if I was forced to write more than 100 words on my smartphone I’d probably just tell the client to find another copywriter.
My wife’s iPhone really isn’t any better.
Tycho Garen focuses his considerable brainpower on mobile productivity and decides app integration is his biggest issue:
If mobile technology is going to replace a general purpose laptop, ever, even in limited situations, we need to figure out how to work in different ways. I know that I am loosing a great deal of time, when I’m using my phone switching between the notes app, the reader, the task list, and the calender. This task switching gets in the way of doing things to a much larger extent than similar behavior does when using a conventional computer. I would even posit that, the cost of context switching is inversely related to the size of the interface.
(Tychoish is a wiki, so you’ll find discussion of his post here.)
After my recent nine-day vacation — where my wife and I left our 15″ laptops at home in favor of an iPad, Nook, smartphones and my 10″ Linux netbook — my perspective is rather different.
I’d suggest mobile devices painfully limit the writer’s ability to input text into the devices in meaningful quantities.
I hear stories of novels created on cell phones and aspiring screenwriters writing spec scripts on their iPhones at lunchtime.
And I’m impressed.
Because I inevitably ask “why not just get a netbook (or even a keyboard-equipped iPad) and, you know… get some writing done?”
I’d contend that shooting and uploading video from my smartphone is faster and easier than answering an email (if that McLuhan guy is right about mediums and messages, that suggests a trend).
So how much content can a writer really create on a smartphone? Will speech-to-text (always just “around the corner”) finally spring fully formed from the next generation of “writer’s smartphones?”
Or are writers chained to full-sized keyboards forever?
Are You a Mobile Content Creator?
I’d love to hear from the Undergrounders about their mobile devices and the kind of content they create on them. (For now, let’s largely ignore social media content; it’s short and we’re looking at professional stuff.)
Me? After nine days in the laptop-free wilderness, I’d suggest I’d whine a lot if I ended up on a desert island with anything less than a netbook (my Linux Starling netbook features a good keyboard — something not true of all the netbooks I’ve tried).
Anything smaller (and iPad and keyboard aren’t really any smaller) feels like a surfer’s tool, not a writer’s.
Keep writing (on whatever’s handy, I guess), Tom Chandler.