A new tech gadget appeared in my Facebook feed that caught my attention which, if done right, could be a great new thing for writers. I am excited about it and hope it meets the expectations.
The Freewrite Traveler is a project from the people who created the Astrohaus Freewrite device. I wasn’t onboard with that device because it has been way too overpriced and more of a high tech typewriter but this new model is something different. It would appear to be something writers would actually use to get “unplugged” from everything.
The Freewrite Traveler is a much better concept that I think could be a better device.
So what is this Freewrite Traveler? It is a high tech word processing device without internet, email, games or other distractions. There is Wifi capability where documents can be saved or backed up into cloud storage. This is a distraction-free device which is ideal for writers or students.
Okay, I know the critic out there who would say: “Just use a laptop or tablet and turn off your email and stay off of the Internet, Facebook, etc.” You would have a point but this is more than just a device to force self-discipline. This is an ideal writer’s tool. Distraction is such a huge obstacle for writers.
Inspiration hits in many ways and having an effective tool to capture those moments would be amazing.
The last truly effective similar device was the Alphasmart devices. I still have one that I will throw into a bag when going outdoors because it is the perfect device to use in outdoor lighting and more comfortable to type on. Text is uploaded to a PC via USB cable. The Traveler promises to be a new and improved model.
Here are some of the details that are planned for this device:
- E Ink Screen – This should help with eye strain you get from laptops and tablets.
- Less than 2 lbs – ideal for travel
- Full-size scissor switch keyboard – a real keyboard
- Document cloud synch through WiFi – Never lose a document
- Millions of pages of memory
- Four weeks of battery life
These are some pretty nifty features for this device but here are some things I would want for this device:
- Instant on – I want a device that doesn’t have to “boot up”. It needs to instantly turn on.
- Backlit keys – No a deal breaker but it would be a nice option if inspiration hits at night and you don’t want to disturb others.
- Look – I have to be honest. The prototype looks wonky. I don’t like all the white plus can’t the screen be bigger and not look like a 60s television?
- Feel – The keys are the most important part of this device. It must be easy to type and not feel cramped. It doesn’t have to be a full-size keyboard but it needs to be the right size.
- USB or SD Slot – I know it plans to have documents synching to the cloud but it would be nice to have this option when you don’t have WiFi access.
I like the idea for this and I hope the final design is something that will help us to finally forget the AlphaSmart. The Traveler is not available yet and there is no indication on when it will be available. The website states that it will be “crowdsourcing soon”. There is no estimate on what the price will be for the Traveler but most are hoping for no more than $250.00. (The original Freewrite Smart Typewriter currently sells for $499 which is the main reason I never jumped on it.) If you would like more information on the Freewrite Traveler and signup for updates, you can go to their website here.