Back around the turn of the century, laptops were the cool new thing that only senior executives and other early adopters with large, full wallets could afford. They weighed more than a couple of pounds, but they let you do stuff without being tied to your desk (supposedly). Like write columns, user manuals or help systems. Now devices are small, lightweight and really portable, mobile is the new cool thing, except everyone gets to play now. You can do a lot of stuff without being tied to a desk, or even a lounge chair, but can you write–productively?
The genesis for this particular TechWhirl poll comes from a question posted to the email discussion list by our own Duct Tape writer Craig Cardimon, who was seeking some opinions about a tablet device to replace his old Windows XP laptop. What emerged was a range of recommendations, from continue with a laptop, to the right kind of keyboard to go with various tablet devices. Some Whirlers were adamant that a tablet isn’t designed to do heavy writing or editing, others waxed poetic about some keyboard alternatives they’ve fallen in love with. And thus our question, can professional writers and editors actually be productive with a tablet as their primary work device? It’s possible that we’re still completely immersed in the typewriter/keyboard paradigm, ignoring how a touchscreen or audio device could help us do the heavy lifting that writing great swathes of content requires. Or perhaps we haven’t looked quite far enough, and need to explore laser keyboards or roll-up keyboards?
Mobile productivity is one of the great sales tools used by device makers in getting enterprises to adopt mobile devices, and recent studies indicate that workers feel more productive when they use a smartphone and a tablet. But if your daily work is writing, would that still hold true? After all, sharing documents is NOT the same thing as creating and modifying them. Is writer productivity a customer experience that device designers aren’t addressing? Vote in the poll and let us know your thoughts… or recommendations about how a tablet or other device can be the primary tool for a professional writer.