Droids: Not Just For Star Wars Anymore

I got me a new toy this weekend: my first-ever smartphone, a Motorola Droid. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a new gadget to geek out on… in fact, I usually avoid buying new technology. My laptop is over two years old, my most advanced gaming console is a PS2, and my TV is a 27-inch CRT from Wal-Mart. For someone who makes his living developing software, I’m actually quite the luddite.

This year, I decided the Droid would be my Christmas present to myself. My contract with Verizon was up, it was time to upgrade, and I didn’t particularly feel like switching networks. Alltel (now Verizon’s) reception is great in my area, and while the iPhone intrigued me, that would require switching to AT&T. I’d rather chew glass, thanks.

So I got my new toy and have been geeking out over it ever since, trying different apps, playing with ringtones, widgets, and generally customizing the heck out of it.

Of course, being a writer, I immediately wondered if it would be feasible to use it for writing. The pull-out keyboard seems to be decent, but I don’t see myself doing much writing with it. It’s no substitute for a laptop… or even a paper notebook. I can write with a pencil faster than I can type on the phone, and even though that would likely change with practice, I don’t see using the Droid as a substitute for the spiral notebook which I carry pretty much everywhere. I like being able to sketch maps, freewrite, doodle, make lists of seemingly random ideas, and for now, pencil and paper remains a friendlier interface for me. As for actual writing, I’ll probably stick with my much-more-comfortable laptop, although I could see myself writing with the Droid if I ever had a sudden brainstorm and it was all I had with me.

I do look forward to using the voice recorder widget, which is something I wished for on my previous cell phone but didn’t have. I go on walks a lot, and ideas often come to me, but I have no easy way of writing them down; I have to remember them until I get home. At times I’ve almost bought a mini-cassette recorder, so I can easily record ideas and passages while I’m on walks, but never did… now, I can just use my phone. I can also easily use it while driving, another place I often get ideas. (What’s that, you say? Using a phone, even in that capacity, is unsafe in a car? Yes, you’re probably right, but it beats the pants off trying to write something down.)

I haven’t seen any other apps in the Android Market that have made me go, “Wow, that would be useful for a writer!”, but if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Now, I just to need to stop playing with my phone when I should be working on my novel…