Being able to word process through android would be an excellent tool for anyone who owns an Android phone and who wants to increase their productivity. Being able to write on the go and being able to create essays and articles while on the train etc. would mean that you could upload more articles more often as a blogger and it would be highly useful for businesses too. And because our Android phones are always in our pockets, that really does seem like the ideal thing to use to do this.
But the question is, is the hardware sufficient for quick typing? And is the software out there to support real word processing on a phone? Here we will look at whether you really can write on the go yet or whether you will still be tied to a heavy laptop.
First of all to answer the question in the introduction; no, the standard hardware is NOT sufficient for writing on the move and unfortunately typing on a screen just isn’t quick enough. You can of course opt to use a faster keyboard than the default Android one (I recommend Writers’ Touch Type Keyboard) but even then you are going to struggle to pump out the kinds of WPM that you can on a keyboard. And you can stop looking so smug Blackberry users – as those piddly keyboards are hardly enough for real typing either.
No, if you seriously want to write on your phone or tablet then you will need to get an external keyboard such as a bluetooth keyboard. I have one just small enough to fit in my jeans pockets and that allows me to leave home without a laptop and still be ready to role. It has a mouse too which is cool.
So now you just need some word processing software and you would presume there’d be a good app out there for that by now. The sad news is that there currently isn’t. At the moment your choices boil down to either ‘Documents to Go’ or ‘QuickOffice Pro’. Now both of these pieces of software are pretty slow and ugly, and the on screen keyboard keeps popping up and it struggles to keep up with my writing speed. At the same time they both lack crucial features – word count for QuickOffice and spell check for DtG. This means that you can end up flitting between the two. Furthermore, saving is slow and useless because you have to choose the directory every time and use fiddly touch controls. They’re both pretty costly too. Not cool.
DosBox to the Rescue
But that’s when I had a brain storm and used one of my favourite apps on the market – DosBox. This is an MS Dos emulator that I installed for retro gaming, but it is still capable of running old .exe files and this includes both MS Word 5.5 and Word Perfect 5.1. I downloaded the .exe from a forum for Word somewhere and installed it through DosBox and now I sit here writing on it quickly and with keyboard shortcuts as well as word count and spell check. Epic.