SolidNote and mNote
The auto-saving, synced-everywhere Simplenote service has become a mainstay of Lifehacker thinking, and for good reason. It’s available pretty much everywhere, it’s scaled down to ultimate simplicity, and it’s constantly saving your work so you don’t have to. It’s what Adam calls the Holy Grail of ubiquitous text capture. Two Android clients provide the best Simplenote experience. This author prefers the paid ($2.40-ish) SolidNote, but only because of the slight polish on the controls and seemingly less lag during typing. mNote, a free alternative, does just as fine a job of simply displaying and saving your Simplenote stuff, and maybe you won’t experience the same lag.
Some writers like to hit the page early and often, pounding out a very rough first draft, then editing it again and again. Others have ideas they need to map out, even if only the most rudimentary form. For the latter crew, there’s Thinking Space, a mind-mapping app for Android that makes it easy to piece together disparate ideas and pull them out later in convenient forms — image files, emailed, however you need them.
If Simplenote syncing isn’t your thing, and if you’re a fan of the yellow-legal-ruled style of the iPhone’s Notes application, AK Notepad is probably just what you need. It’s a simple note client, but it also lets those notes work in and around your phone. Set reminders on notes to ping you later, pin a specific note to your Android home screen, tag your notes for search, and back them up to your SD card or to Catch.com, the maker of another app on this list.
AK Notepad (AppBrain)
Evernote and Springpad
More than words can go into a piece of text. Images, dictated notes, web links and more can be pieces of the puzzle. Evernote is the more established universal capture tool that syncs to nearly every computing platform available, and its Android client just went through a major overhaul that makes it a very viable tool. But we’ve also dug how Springpad popped up while Evernote was still getting its Android footing, providing a nicely different alternative. Both tools are free, and make your Android smartphone into a kind of secretary that follows you around everywhere, waiting to hear your latest thoughts that should end up inside your work.
If you’re a fan of WriteRoom, Dark Room or similar green-terminal-text-on-empty-black writing tools, DroidRoom continues the experience on Android. Stripped down and simple by nature, it loads and saves plain text files from the SD card, goes completely full-screen while you’re writing (notification bar hidden and all), and offers customisation of text and background. It’s a little over $1 in the Market.
Sticky notes are not a productivity tool. When you see them stacked up on a monitor, it’s discouraging. But on a smartphone screen? They can be a simple reminder. Paste your quick thoughts somewhere conspicuous with ColorNote — right under your Twitter client link, perhaps? — and you’ll hopefully remember that a first draft is due, to email that person with a question, or whatever else you need to get your words done.
If you have further recommendations on apps that make writing, brainstorming and other type-y tasks easier on Android, tell us about them in the comments.