Hello Android Central! In case you don't recognize the name, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Kevin Michaluk, aka CrackBerry Kevin, Founder and Editor in Chief of Android Central's sibling site, CrackBerry.com. Yes, I love BlackBerrys.

If you follow all the mobile news you'll know us BlackBerry fans are going through a bit of a dry spell right now, as we wait for BlackBerry 10 phones to hit the market later this year. In the meantime, I've decided to make productive use of this downtime by going on the first-ever Mobile Nations World Tour.

The premise? I'm going to visit all of the sites in our Mobile Nations network over the next few months and get close and personal with each mobile platform. Android. iOS. Windows Phone. Heck, even webOS for good measure. By the time this is over I hope to be an expert on each.

My first stop is Android Central and I've armed myself with an HTC One X (in white!). I've spent a few days now getting up and running with it -- my apologies to Phil for the onslaught of newbie questions -- and over the month of June I plan to really accelerate my learning. I'll need your help. Expect to see me in the forums, on Google+ and on twitter asking questions. If you have tips and suggestions for me, don't hold back!

Assuming Phil lets me, you may even see me write an article or two or make an appearance on an Android Central podcast. Oh what's that Phil? I can come on the show tonight? Well I guess we'll see you there!


Reader comments

CrackBerry Kevin is on a Mobile Nations World Tour and going Android this month


Oh boy, the only guy that actually still needs a blackberry for work is dipping his toes in the other pools.

Kevin, I enjoy your writing, maybe its time to come over permanently!

It would be cool if he moved over. He could also write about the things that are similar/different between Android and BB.

Just remember... You won't actually die from lack of Blackberry Messenger... :D

Welcome to our Treehouse! I hope you have a blast! You certainly picked a fine example of Androidhood. Mazeltov!

I imagine Kevin's first task on Android was to search the Google Play store for a $500 clock widget to waste his money on.

No...but it does precede you. ;) Seriously though, welcome to AC, and I'm sure I speak for everyone in saying that I hope you enjoy your time on Android and the other platforms. You've got a solid support network to get you up and running (though it's not as steep a learning curve now as it was with Cupcake).

Welcome Kevin. As a former bb owner (my first smartphone) I found you and CrackBerry.com indispensable. Enjoy your stay and best of luck to you and your fellow bb owners with bb10!

I did pick up a Galaxy Nexus before Christmas there just to check it out for a few days (then sent it on to another writer in the network). Going from stock ICS on to HTC Sense on the One X is interesting. Oh Android.. so much to learn.

I honestly think that Kevin doing any article on the thoughts and feelings of coming to android from a new users stand point would be an outstanding point of view.

If you find the people in the HTC One forums a bit to rowdy we would welcome you to the Rezound forums as we don't care who stops by as long as you are civil and not attempting to start a phone war.

I can't wait for Kevin to become a permanent member of the Android Central staff. Don't fight the urge, Kevin! You know you belong here with the rest of us former CrackBerrians. :D

Welcome Kevin! I was a Storm (1 and 2) owner and saw the light a couple years ago - glad to see you're still alive :)

Welcome Kevin. Being a Blackberry guy, I assume keyboards are a big deal for you. I'm a reformed Blackberry user myself, so I understand. (My first smartphone was a Curve 8330.) My #1 recommendation for you is to try lots of virtual keyboards. One of the coolest things about Android is there are dozens of great virtual keyboards out there. Don't just use the default keyboard and assume that the only option. I've used 5 different keyboards (HTC default, Swype, Swiftkey, TouchPal, and PerfectKeyboard) since I've been on Android, and it's all about finding the one that fits you best. I still love trying new keyboards, but I keep coming back to SwiftKey. (I'm currently using the Swiftkey 3 beta.) SwiftKey is definitely the reigning champ, but you should definitely try lots of them. I expect you to review a different keyboard every week. (BOOM, I'm throwing down the gauntlet.)

Welcome and have fun.

Edit: I should have mentioned, we have a whole keyboard forum. See you there.

I was coming here to write the same thing Kevin. The SwiftKey 3 beta is absolutely awesome, and since the new BB10 keyboard is based on SwiftKey not a bad way to get to know how good it is at predicting what you want to say. I believe I can be as good on the GNote as I am on my 9810 thanks to SwiftKey.

CrackBerry Kevin is on a Mobile Nations World Tour and going Android this month is not news... if it was the other way around, it would be.

It's news I'll be on the AC podcast tonight, so there! :p

Maybe we need a "Site Stuff" category for posts... or something like that.

Hmm.. don't think anybody has ever called me Grizzly or Metro Sexual before, never mind both together. Kinda interesting. I refuse to cut my hair until BlackBerry 10 comes out, so expect it to grow.  Hoping to pull off the Hansel look (in Zoolander).. maybe that is Grizzly Metro Sexual afterall.

I was just being silly :)

I don't have a BB, but I do read your site often. I wish you BB users future success.

-I'm a former webOS enthusiast digging my Galaxy Nexus.

You're right. His visage is proof that Bill Gates has it right. Dressing well and bulking up just makes you a buff nerd in nice clothes. You might as well play the hand that was dealt you as some people can never be a member of the cool club no matter what you do.

Ok.. so if I read between the lines here Scott, you're telling me to lose the clothes and go shirtless for my next video. I can do it man, but if the rest of Android Central doesn't like it, I'm gonna send them your way to complain ;)

Welcome To AndroidCentral Kevin,

first things first , I know you love wristwatches & Clock widgets (like me) , Check this apps :

- Tag Heuer e-clock
- Analog Swiss Watches
- Royal Clock
- Swiss Watches book

Welcome Kevin. After your introduction to Android with Phil and the others, Look into Rooting your phone also. Its not for everyone but learning about it and trying it and trying custom roms are fun but do this at your own risk! If you brick it your done lol . Enjoy your visit.

Kevin, former BlackBerry user myself.

Had a 9700 (first BlackBerry) from launch and only changed my phone this year when the HTC One X (UK 32GB Grey) launched.

Would be interesting to see if our ... likes/dislikes match.

Just joined Android central to add to the comments. Both my current smartphones are dying (WebOS / BB) and I'm seriously considering replacing at least one of them with an Android device.

Kevin -- your world tour idea is awesome. Although you probably don't want to convince people to move from BB to Android, it's happening anyway. Having your thoughts/perspectives & observations from making the switch will help out a bunch of people I'm sure.

If you're up-for requests, I'd *really* find your observations on these things helpful:
-One-handed use (a bit unfair since you're using the supersized One X)
-Virtual keyboard vs. physical keyboard: there are some of us who will always feel physical is better -- but: is it that much different?
-Messaging: Even though BBM doesn't exist on Android -- were you able to get multiple eMail accounts (ie: corporate IMAP &GMail) + IM (ie: Skype (does Android have this??) or What's App running in a productive way?
-PIM -- were you able to integrate the big-4 PIM easily? Ideally, I'd be interested in the power-use combo of: 2 x calendars (Exchange + GMail), 2 x Address Books (Exchange + GMail), Tasks (Exchange) & Memos (Exchange). How easy was it to get all of this stuff working on Android? As a point of reference (as you know), BB has either BES or BIS + Desktop Client. It's fair-ball to include stuff like Companionlink.

Good luck & thanks

Thanks for joining AC just to comment! Good questions. Will address them. Not on an exchange setup on the moment so will have to tackle those differently, but will definitely have opinions/answers coming on the rest.

Sure - already a member of P|C & CB, so -- one more site didn't hurt. Kudos BTW for keeping my P|C / CB userID reserved here (for me only).

As for the Exchange thing -- I hear you. Personally, my use-case on WebOS device is not via Exchange (ActiveSync) but via 3rd party sync (similar to Companionlink) + GMail sync. I'm assuming Android ICS can do everything WebOS synergy does (and more) and hope I'm not wrong!

As for the rest -- thanks!

From another former BB user - I thought I would need the hard KB so my first Android phone had to have one. Guess what? I never used it. Whatever soft KB you like, it's way better. My next phone will not have a hard KB.

I came from a Palm Pre & thought I would never prefer a virtual keyboard, partially because I am a one-handed typer. But, I took the plunge & bought an HTC Evo... to my surprise, I found I was actually faster at typing on the virtual keyboard! For one handed typing ( ala Palm Pre), I have found that nothing beats the Swype keyboard! If you are a thumb typer, Swype is for you! For the rare times I go 2-handed (landscape typing), I live Swiftkey X! I truly believe that Swiftykey is the fastest, but I willingly handicap myself because I am unwilling to give up single-hand typing. Now I rock a Samsung Galaxy S II & love it!

I too am a former BlackBerry user and I enjoyed my experience on that platform, but there is no comparison between it and Android. I had concerns regarding the keyboard, but after trying several, I could never go back to a physical keyboard because I have discovered that I can type better and quicker on a virtual keyboard.

Welcome Kevin! Was and still a crackberry member. Even though I no longer own a BlackBerry I still visit the blog and the forums. I think you will Fall in love with android as I did.

I'm loving SwiftKey.

Here's my road so far...

1. Default HTC Sense Keyboard... not superb

2. Turned Swype... better for long words. Kind of weird but good but weird but good but weird

3. Bought the SwiftKey X keyboard for $2.99 from the Play Store.  Better

4. Got the SwiftKey 3 Beta keyboard last night. MUCH better. Actually been typing super fast on it crackberry style (two thumbs in portrait) with pretty good accuracy. Still need a few more days on this one, but yeah... can tell SwiftKey knows their stuff.

After about 3 days, you will be flying even on the HTC Sense stock kb in portrait. I did the switch after loads of Palm, WinMo and BB hard keyboards and wouldn't go back. The HTC press/hold alt keys are super handy.
Swiftkey 3 Beta is very similar, but I prefer the Sense on ICS. EVO LTE.

I think it's probably a collaboration... from the preview it seems RIM is definitely working on a lot of it - UI, etc, and working with SwiftKey on predictive, learning engine, etc. Am sure we'll find out more soon... but definitely will be happy if a lot of the SwiftKey nuts and bolts are behind the BB10 keyboard.

Wasn't crazy about SwiftKey until their beta 3, and keyboard is much better and really works well with my typing style.

Still when it comes to typing fast I still g have to go back to FlexT9, it's a better swipe keyword than Swype.

If you want to get even faster at typing, download SwiftKey X in the play store!

Edit: guess I should've read the comments first. *face palm*

Welcome!!! enjoy your enthusiasm on the crackberry site Kevin,

would you teach the AC guys that yes more ram is good, screens aren't too big, 1-day battery is a pretty low bar, carrier spyware is worth investigating, etc..

$500 widget video was funny.

Welcome to Android Kevin. I first got introduced to the Smartphone Experts family of sites when I bought my Tour. I've moved on from my BB and upgraded my Android phone a couple of times, but Imstill read Crackberry and follow your writers on Twitter. Is this going to be strictly a phone tour or will you be addressing tablets as well? Good luck and I look forward to reading about your experiences on Android.

I think **mainly** phones but will work some tablet thoughts in too. I do have a PlayBook and iPad 3 and HP Touchpad... wouldn't mind picking up Android and Windows 8 tablets to play with.

Glad to hear you're keeping it within the family of sites and still following CB despite moving to Android.

I know you mentioned a Tablet Round Robin later in the year on the Mobile Nations podcast and that sounds pretty awesome. I still like to go back and read the old articles from the Previous Round Robins. It's amazing how much the Mobile landscape has changed in the last couple of years.

Welcome to the family. As someone that has to support over 300 Blackberry users, I often find myself landing on Crackberry.com for answers. Good information over there. Thanks for all the help over the years.

Kevin. Nice to see you here. The one x is an awesome phone with a superb screen.

Funnily enough you love swiftkey and I'm sure that the new bb10 keyboard was designed by swiftkey as well. Good idea for you to start getting used to as you will be using virtual keyboard on Bb10.

You should also try ICS keyboard from the market. Very good

when RIMM finally goes out of business - can we PLEASE make sure that this guy goes to the iPhone community? not a fan.

Darn. Will have to get a new t-shirt made.... I'm no longer a 100% crowd pleaser. Gonna have to drop it to 99.999999%. I guess your mama was wrong when she told me I was soo good I could please anyone. I kid, I kid. :)

So what don't you like? My passion and enthusiasm? The Canadian accent? My hipster meets Jersey Shore meets Euro style and grace (or lack thereof)? I'm always on a quest for self improvement so am dying to hear the specifics....

Haters gonna hate!

Like so many others, I also got started on smartphones via CB. Which has led me to dishing out $1,000's for new hardware every 6 months..wait a second I hate you too!! :P

Kevin dont let those type of people bother you. I for one am glad you are here. I think it's interesting to examine the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and indeed each phone OEM (since there really isn't One Android but rather 4 or so Stock Android, Sense Android, TouchWiz Android, Moto Android, etc.) As some one on both platforms (in addition to my Android arsenal I also own a Bold 9930 and a Playbook) I am glad to see you here and look forward to seeing your insights. Android has changed a lot since the last SPE Roundrobin, and it didn't sound like you gave the Nexus enough time to really get used to it (One X is a better overall user experience though IMHO). Really hoping RIM hits a home run with BB 10 but it's always good to try new things.

Ah very cool Kevin! I think I would like to do something like that I'm currently on Android I came from blackberry almost two years ago. Needless to say I'm hooked but I would love to give some other platforms a try. If anything I would be able to confirm why I don't like them. I know I could pull off WP7 but IOS would be one heck of a stretch.

Good to see you here Kevin! Ex Crackberry user here as well. It all started with the 8703e (tank of a phone!) and went through the pearl, curve, and was finally done in by the first Storm. I also can't wait to see BB10, hoping BB makes a strong come back.

The first wallpaper I used on the Droid 1 was you kneeing the giant android in the crotch. I still laugh when I see that pic.

Kevin! Glad to see you here. I wouldn't have even found Android Central if not for CrackBerry. I learned a lot from you over there, and I may be back for BB10, but I wish you luck in the time being. Hope you learn some stuff.

Kevin, honestly, I think you should also test drive a Galaxy Nexus. Starting off with the AOSP experience might give you a better perspective about the changes OEM's make in their versions of Android. The One X is a superb phone (that screen is the best out there, bar none), but stock is the best place to start IMHO.

I agree but afta usin a BB for so long i dont kno if he can even handle tha raw power that is stock android lol, but we will see wont we, this is going to b very interesting from a key pad to a full touch screen phone

Kevin, you gotta make a pledge with me. Throw away the One X and only use BB10 when it comes out. I feel so guilty using my One X while my poor bold lies neglected. After using 6 generations of blackberry, I feel like a traitor to my people.

Kevin, good idea to start using other platforms. As BB10 will symbolize the end of BB as you know it, much better to have a point of reference into the established players. After all, BB's OS7 is so bad, it would'nt be fair to compare it to BB10. Only Android, WP and IOS can show you what BB10 will need to be.

Given that I might jump back to BlackBerry if BB 10 turns out good, I like the concept of Kevin's Mobile Nation's World Tour. I'll definitely stay tuned to Kevin's articles on how things work out for him with all other platforms.

@Kevin Michaluk: Kevin, been a long time reader of your articles (years at this point), used to be on the crackberry forums all the time helping out fellow crackberry addicts, but now I run android and loiter in the AC forumns doing the same. One thing i remember you always do for your phone reviews is an in depth review of your experience with the keyboard. Now that you have an android phone, remember keyboard is a choice, kinda like a wallpaper, and you can have tons. To be fair, the htc sense keyboard always kind of sucked in my opinion (might have changed in ICS) so I dont use stock keyboards. I suggest you install 2, the gingerbread keyboard and swype. I use them both and swype as my main keyboard all the time. I would compare swype to the bb10 touchscreen keyboard experience you are expecting to get come Q4 of this year. Best of luck with the trial. if you need app recommendations that have bb equivalents just PM me, i have a list that i use to help bb converts get up and running easy.


Welcome Kevin,
And you look great btw! You're going to love Android and the HTC One x is one the top devices for Android, I know you're gonna love it. My coworker just got one thanks to my obsession with everything android and he came from an Iphone4s. I was using a bb Storm before I found Android devices. But I did stick it out with the Storm for a year before I switched. But I remember the Storm as my first smartphone and started me on a path of obsessiveness with these wonderful devices.

PS Dont' cut the hair. Its working! :)

Welcome to the android found. Former CrackBerry addict here. After reading some of your post here I realized what I miss most about BlackBerry was you smart a@@ remarks.

Making the switch is going to be difficult at first, it is going to seem like some key features BB don't exist in andriod devices. That is not the case the features are just done differently in android or have an app to fill the gap.

Some apps I strongly recommend for productivity

Gtask: Task manager that syncs with your Google tasks
Agenda Widget : A widget tablets you view your tasks and calendar
RepliGo: Awesome PDF reader that has its roots from BB.
Documents ToGo: I know you know that I know you know what this app does. Although Quick office has a better UI.
K9 Mail: Still one of the best mail clients around. Has push notifications and supports most emails and mail protocols. AND it's free and open source. With my old BB my default email did not have push so this app was aI huge improvement on Android.

You already have the right keyboard, based on an earlier post, but I do recommend FlexT9.

Don't want to overwhelm you so I'll leave it at this.

Glad to see you here Kevin. Your writing and reporting on Crackberry is probably the only thing I miss about my Blackberry days. I so wish RIM had innovated instead of stagnated. Oh well that is the past.
I see you have experienced the best keyboard out there with the beta of swiftkey. I know BB is trying to use them for theirs but I just cannot see the swipe up function being that good but may try it out whenever it comes out. Speaking of that if you don't cut your hair till blackberry 10 then you better invest in some good hair braids. LOL. Just playing with ya. Look forward to reading about your views of Android.

Kevin! I go both ways. ;) I have a PlayBook and switched my Storm 2 for a Droid Razr back in February. I still follow the happenings over at CrackBerry. I have to say, that the only thing I miss about my BlackBerry is that it handled my Exchange email account for grad school better than the Razr (and better than PlayBook 2.0). Other than that, I love the app selection and just Android in general, and I have to say have been eyeing the Asus Transformer line for a possible PlayBook replacement...

Hey Kevin! Welcome to the world of dual-welding! Not that you are a stranger to that. As a user of the Amaze 4G and torch 9810 I look forward to your comments and quips about Android. I'm curious to see if you find battery life to be better or worse than on your BlackBerry. Have fun man!