For about $50 – $100 (depending on chosen brands), I’ve been able to setup an ultra-mobile workstation for my writing using my cell phone, some tethering via Bluetooth, and some very functional apps from the Android marketplace.
I no longer have limitations when working on my business.
Here’s how you can do the same …
You’ll need the following to go this level of mobile:
- A recent Android cell phone (I’m using the SII)
- A Bluetooth keyboard
- A Bluetooth mouse
- Optional: An MHL to HDMI adapter (and cable)
In all, besides the investment of the cell phone (which you most likely already own), you can purchase these items for super cheap on Amazon.com or any other cheap electronics ecommerce store.
These are some items that I actually recommend going cheap on. Don’t bother dropping $25+ on some HDMI cable at Best Buy when you can snag it for $3 online. The point is that you don’t want to end up investing the same amount of money in this equipment as you would an ultrabook or one of the recent, cheap tablets hitting the market.
I’m keeping this build to the absolute minimum which means that I’m not investing in some flashy phone case or phone stand; I’m not bothering with the aesthetics. You’re more than welcome to splurge a bit but I don’t recommend it in the beginning because you may not actually enjoy the initial setup because it’s a huge departure from a desktop environment.
Here is what you’ll be setting up:
And here is the process:
- Create a simple stand for your phone (putty or leaning it against something works)
- Activate the Bluetooth settings
- Test whether your phone is now responsive to the mouse and keyboard
That’s actually quite it in terms of the hardware. You’re now half of the way there and the rest is simply installing the awesome apps which make the workstation functional for blogging and mobile work.
I mention the HDMI cable because there are these items called MHL to HDMI adapters which plug into your phone and allow you to tether it to a TV. This adaptor will get you started for $20. It’s really easy to get setup and have a full screen for your work. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, I had ordered one and it came defective so I wasn’t able to add it to this post. But you get the idea.
The screen is a little small but you can easily pair these items with any other, recent Android phone or tablets on the market.
I tend to keep things on the simpler side; I don’t care much for adding extra apps that just makes an additional to-do item on my daily list.
I would recommend the following to be productive on this ultra-mobile setup:
- Google Docs
- Google Chrome
I’m an Android user so I don’t have much experienced in the world of the iPhone but I’m sure there are very comparable apps on the marketplace though I’m equally not sure if the iPhone supports this type of setup outside of the higher priced items.
Remember: Mobile Friendly Site
The most important element to make this really work for you is to make sure that your site is mobile friend that way you can easily see the difference in the desktop and mobile versions of your site.
There are lots of tools and resources for going mobile, here they are:
Lots of people are now accessing your site through mobile so you might as well offer it especially if you’re going mobile on the backend – see what they see – write the short form like they want.
Resource: Sitepoint has a quick-and-easy list of WordPress plugins to go mobile-ready and this additional list over at WebDesignLedger.
Bring It Together
To be honest, I thought the idea of someone tethering a keyboard to an iPad or some tablet to be extremely idiotic especially since we have laptops. I’m still on the fence about it especially if you’re dropping hundreds of dollars but this post goes the alternate, Frankenstein route because it’s taking something you already have (cell phone) and adding a next level of use to it.
Combine the mobile coverage of your network, easy WIFI, and a ton of apps and you’ve got a very sleek and ultra-mobile workstation for doing your work. Yeah, it may strain your eyes but it’s definitely better than typing out 1,000+ words using an on-screen keyboard especially when you’re trying to add links, multi-media, and publishing it all.
Hope you like this one – I had a blast setting it up and writing about it. Now, share it!