Okay, I did it. I took the risk and pre-ordered the Freewrite Traveler from Astrohaus. I paid the $275 dollars for a tech device that hasn’t even been built yet and not expected to ship until June 2019.
I hope I’m not the sucker here. People that know me know how I like gadgets and new/unique tech stuff. Over the years I have fallen for the Pocket PC, Palmtop PC, Google Nexus 7, iPad Air, iPad Mini and just about any techie device. I even had a digital Bible at some point in the past that I carried to church. (Not to mention the various keyboards and other accessories I have collected over the years.)
The Freewrite Traveler is a distraction-free e-ink word processor which is billed to be the ultimate writer’s tool. You can take the device anywhere and write when inspiration strikes and upload to the cloud. Traveler removes the ability to get distracted. There isn’t a web browser, email client, or even any notifications which means all that energy required to resist temptation is now freed for a more useful purpose, your writing.
The Traveler also has:
4-week battery life
E ink screen
Less than 2 lbs
Folding design for maximum portability
Syncs to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive
For a writer like myself, this looks like a good investment. I just hope it lives up to the expectations. Although I can work on a laptop, ipad or other devices and ignore distractions I like the idea of having a device that is only dedicated to my writing. No apps and no other things cluttering up the device. Just a keyboard and screen.
I also like the idea of synching to a cloud drive. I want to be able to access my projects wherever I go and not have to keep them on a hard drive or flash drive device.
The folks at Astrohaus say that studies have shown it takes 25 minutes on average to refocus on the original task after a single interruption. I think anyone who writes or reads can identify with this. Getting in the “flow” is so important to a writer. You don’t want anything to stop you.
Right now the Traveler is in the crowdfunding stage and the last update stated that in less than a day, the Traveler has been 333% funded by 525 people. That should be a good sign that this product will actually become reality. That’s a good sign and, for me, that I won’t end up being a sucker for another tech gadget.
So now I wait until June. I’m not good at waiting.
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.