From the Editor's Desk: A busy and fun week

From the Editor's Desk
By Kevin Michaluk on 17 Jun 2012 10:47 pm EDT

Yes, I'm using an Android phone for the month of June as part of the Mobile Nations World Tour, so
don't act all surprised if you see me tweet from an Android client. 

Happy Father's Day to all the CrackBerry dads out there!! I have to give a special shout out to my pops who I didn't get a chance to see today (I ran in a half marathon and couldn't make the trip out of the city). He reads CrackBerry daily though, so I know he'll see this. Thanks for being the bestest dad ever!

To all the fathers, I hope you've enjoyed your special day of honor and that your kids showed you some extra love. And if you received socks and ties today but next year are hoping for a little something something that caters to the techie in you, be sure to leave your web browser open to this page for your kids to stumble upon or accidentally forward them an email with the link. Father's Day Tech Gift guides only work when they're read by the kids ;)

Looking back at the week that was, it's been a busy one, so let's get to it!

Apple Monday - iOS 6 incremental; I want a MBP w/ Retina Display

iOS 6

Monday was Apple day and the tech world stopped to take in the Moscone Center keynote. And while I haven't read through every single reaction to the event out there, the concensus was that people we're hoping and expecting more. On the iOS front, the changes coming in iOS 6 are incremental (check out iMore's big list of iOS changes). Bla1ze really summed it up well on his debrief editorial which relates iOS 6 to what we are waiting for in BlackBerry 10:

RIM is going for something new, something different, whereas Apple, realistically, just brought more of the same to the table. RIM is looking to pull in bezel gestures, swiping to your inbox, a whole new keyboard experience and more. Remember, excluding the BBOS, iOS is now the oldest mobile platform on the market. This kind of iOS 6 announcement smells more of maturity -- aka old age -- than it does innovation. Oddly enough, if you watch the new MacBook Pro video there is a quote within it that kind of sums up what the iOS experience is becoming:

"When you build on top of something else you're stuck with inccremental changes. When you start with something new you can totally redesign it."

Apple has been adding incremental changes to their aging iOS for a while now. Yes, RIM had an aging OS, which arguably forced them into making something new, but that's just it -- it's going to be all new and fresh.

As much as I am a BlackBerry champion and love to preach the BlackBerry gospel, I do have a lot of friends, family and colleagues that are iPhone users and one thing I hear more and more from them is that they are getting "bored" with their iPhones. The iPhone is an easy phone to pick up and use, but the downfall of that simplicity is that the user experience gets old. Open. Close. Open. Close. I really am looking forward to the "flow" experience of BlackBerry 10, and think if RIM executes well will be carving out a unique and sizeable niche in the mobile market.

As for what did excite us at Apple's event? Well, it seems everybody on the Mobile Nations team wants a new Macbook Pro with Retina display. I was really hoping for a new Mac Pro to get announced (the desktop), but it seems the major update to that will come next year. 

A Better Look at BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry Jam developer events are making their way around the world, and CrackBerry's DJ Reyes and James Richardson both took in the event in London this week. DJ brought us a close and personal look at the Jam event, while James brought us some BlackBerry 10 eye candy to check out along with his first impressions of actually playing with an early build of BlackBerry 10 running on the BlackBerry Dev Alpha device. And yesterday I posted a screen capture from what is reported to be the BlackBerry 10 Contacts app.

RIM already gave us a good preview of BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry World last month, and while we're not seeing anything crazy in these new photos and caps, every new image and photo we see just makes us want it more. I love reading the comments to these posts on CrackBerry, as you can see the excitement for RIM's new OS. Heck, even reading through the comments on other non-BlackBerry sites that are reposting the photos, I'm seeing more and more comments from the peanut gallery from people that are becoming pro-RIM. These are not people who are BlackBerry fans (yet), but people who I think want to truly see what RIM can deliver. Things are still going to get worse before they get better for RIM (I'm already dreading the bloodbath following RIM's next earnings report), but the growing anticipation for BlackBerry 10 is promising. It's just the waiting that's hard.

Mobile Nations World Tour Continues

I've already widely broadcast that I'm using an Android phone this month. The HTC One X specifically. I'm learning that sometimes you need to repeat the message though as I everytime I send a tweet from it I get met with 30 @replies claiming the world is ending as I've switched. Kind of aggrevating. Kind of annoying. But it's all good. I'll just keep repeating the message (which I'm doing right now). I've chimed in with a couple of posts on Android Central relating to my experiences, and as I mentioned the other week, I'm picking up Android pretty well. Heck, I even gave the Android Central community a BlackBerry tip - check out the video above.

As for the HTC One X, I really hope RIM can pull off a display for their first BlackBerry 10 phone that is as good. As far as mobile devices go, it's the best display I've seen to date and is really the killer feature of that device. What amazes me though is how bad HTC has gotten the "basics" on the device. Things that have been a given on BlackBerry for years are literally garbage on this phone. The speakerphone call quality is crap (I use speakerphone a lot). I've found the bluetooth connectivity to be completely unreliable with my car. It always "connects" when I get in, but whether or not it actually works is a 50/50. It aggrevates me daily. And I've found the radio network connectivity to be completely suspect as well. I've had to restart the phone on numerous occassions now as the data just quits working. And I'm found it dropping down to Edge for no apparent reason. I've also found that the signal strength just isn't that good. Miss CrackBerry keeps using her BlackBerry in bars/restaurants we go to while the One X signal drops to nothing (we're both on Rogers). So it has a beautiful display, but for me it really fails on a lot of the basics, which I almost find hard to believe. The HTC One X has received a lot of glowing reviews - it makes me think I need to start reviewing all phones as I really put them through their paces when I review them. I get out of the office/house and really see how it performs in the real world, and as a bit of a creature of habit, I have a great baseline of tests bullt into my life upon which to do these comparisons. Maybe I'll pick up an SIII when it hits Rogers to see how it stacks up to the One X.

Next week I'll be kicking my Android learning into high gear - I'm going to hit San Francisco which is where Google I/O is taking place. The Android Central team will be their covering all the news, so I'm going to take advantage of the time to further immerse myself into this Android world. After that, I'll come home and wind down my month of Android use - expect some indepth content on it from me then.

And despite being on Android, I'm still bring back lots of BlackBerry news right now. If you missed my tip this weekend on enabling user-controlled snooze times on BBOS reminders, CHECK IT OUT NOW and SPREAD THE WORD. It's a life changer.

Until Next Week... Keep your thumbs on your keyboard! 

Hmm.. I need to work on some good sign off lines for this weekly editorial... if you have any good ideas, let me know in the comments!.

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: A busy and fun week


My Galaxy Nexus does that with the data/wifi simply stops working until a full system reboot. No explanation of what happens, it just stops working. Sticking with my 9900.

LOVE charging my 9900 with the PlayBook charger. So quick!

And for the record, Kevin, I'm on Rogers too. I just find that my signal strength is crap everywhere. When I've got the H+ logo going, it's great, but in a lot of situations I've got a few bars on EDGE or I'm SOS. Now that's frustrating!

Rogers in Winnipeg is really rock solid for me. And the big thing here is between the Bold 9900 and HTC One X I can directly compare them, so I can see how much worse the One X does compared to the 9900. What city are you in?

I'm all the way down in Windsor. Maybe that's got something to do with it? But every phone I've ever owned has had lousy connectivity. And I get mad roaming charges any time I'm near the river. Kinda sucks being a border city.

Did you know you can turn off data on roaming on your BB? That way your data won't accidentally go through the roaming cell provider if your phone does jump on their network.

Playbook charger + micro "Y" cable from JM1 battery charger kit = win.

I use that combo religiously while traveling, I can charge up the PB and the swap in battery overnight with no problems.

I also use the Playbook charger to charge by Galaxy S2X. BTW, S2X speaker also sucks and not mention that my battery drains within two days on standby.

That's why I gave up on Android. Too many issues all the time. My blackberry is more reliable and oh did I mention that it gets Shit Done!

Hey Kevin,
How come you're in the passenger seat? BB users are drivers, not passengers.
Oh yeah, you're using an Android device this month. I guess that explains it.

Keep up the good work!

Android has it's pros and cons, just like Blackberry, and iOS. I think it's awesome you're taking Android for a spin, and I'd love to see more contributors "cross lines" from their normal affiliations. I'm rocking a Gnex on Rogers. It's pretty cool but I miss some stuff about BBOS along with the physical keyboard. I do love the big screen, the customization, and the speed. I don't like the connection issues that seem common with the latest Samsung devices, it I'll ride it out for this round. Who knows, maybe when I get my next upgrade comes up I'll switch back to BB. Cheers, Kevin! Keep up the great work!

I have a GNote and a 9810 on AT&T here in NY/NJ and both get and keep strong signal. When I am in the City the LTE is insanely fast on the GNote, alas not available yet on BB until BB10 comes along. I have BlueAnt S4 and the Note works well with it - but I have seen on the Android forums that Samsung devices seem to have trouble playing with the car's onboard bluetooth as a general rule. Can't speak to that as don't have that luxury, might be an "Android thing"

Good guess. That's what my gf... err.. fiance, drives. Nice weather yesterday early afternoon (before the rain came) so had to take advantage of the convertible. It's a nice car for her... not something I like to drive though (I'm a big SUV kinda guy), so I'd much rather be in the passenger seat.  I think the EOS won "hot girl car of the year" a couple times... says it all :)

Congrats on the engagement Kevin! Or, is this old news? I don't think I remember reading about this before...

On topic: I too use my rapid charger from time to time, and on campus a lot of my Android-using classmates ask to borrow it during class to charge their phones. Each and every one of them are surprised by how quickly it charges! Though, I'm a little afraid to continually use it to charge phone batteries; Kevin, are you sure there's no drawback from using more power to charge?

Second that, dracolnyte. I'm guessing the vehicle in the first pic is VW EOS, looks like the 2011 model. from what i recall, the 3 series convertible has a different side mirror? haha.

Don't Canadians drive on the left side of the road like the rest of the Queen's subjects? That would make Kevin the driver. :). JK.

The Bluetooth issue isn't tied to just your HTC phones as it seems to be an Android issue (S2 has issues as well and when you search for help you find it is more common than you think).

On the signal reception front, you are finding out the other issue with Android phones... the need to tweak it to get the most out of it. Specifically in this case changing your modem file to find one that gives you better reception. Again with my S2 I can have literally no reception in places (especially indoors) where my 9900 would have no issues and I'll have to search the XDA forums for info on a better modem file because they allow software to drive the hardware reception (maybe it works that way with BB's as well but much more troublesome as it is more hit and miss trying to find the one modem type that will give the best reception for your phone on your carrier, in your location). It's issues like this which give me hope that BB can carve a notch for itself because using an Android phone, or iPhone, or even a current BB shows you there must be a better way for certain things... and if BB10 can be that better way? Then they've got something.

I have found the reception issue as well. My BB has been on a different network so that's not a fair comparison. But my iPhone picks up and holds a signal much better than my Skyrocket.
Now that I've got al my phones on AT&T again, it will be interesting.g to be able to do side by side, real time comparisons.

WTF- WHO´s this delineated guy???? I cant recognize anybody in this veeery shoody pic made with a very inferior device... Sorry... Could you upgrade the pic to BlackBerry-level for better cognizability? ;-)

Been a busy week for me too. Got pacemaker, put up a bunch of videos, got featured on Pacemaker's twitter and facebook pages. they want me to do a dj battle vs Gods Will. I find out one of my dj idols is co creator, Mr. John Aquaviva. Sent Nodebeat a video, they featured me on their site. Took a beauty of a pic with my playbook and it has become an overnight sensation with me getting orders daily now for prints. all this just because I have a playbook.....Thank You RIM and CrackBerry!

That's the 1rst thing that crossed my mind when learning he's going to be spending time on Android, RIM in trouble, Kevin warming up to Android

My old HTC Sensation also sucked on loudspeaker(which I also use a lot)
Most Android don't support ID3 tags over BT to my car radio either, my Sensation played with a constant crackly noise as well on my 2012 Ford Focus Sony radio
Only fix was to buy a Nokia Lumia 710 for £140 (now £99) at Car Phone Warehouse, and apart from the camera its better in every way than the HTC but as I got given a Samsung Galaxy S3 from work I'm now back to Android (plus my old BB8310) and I have to say this is going a long way to repair my trust in Android
The BT works great in my car plus the ID3 track info displays as well, the sound is good and it always connects no issues, loudspeaker works well , camera is great and the screen is great too its a bit thin and smooth are the only down points I can find with it
I was all set to give up on Android now I'm not sure, waiting on BB10 and Nokia WP8 before deciding, I do like my Playbook though

"Yes, I'm using an Android phone for the month of June as part of the Mobile Nations World Tour, so
don't act all surprised if you see me tweet from an Android client"

U have to read that

Guys, I was just checking out WP central for their views on IOS 6 and I have to tell you I felt so much at home (crackberry). Die hard fans, all of them hate apple and refer to people using apple as sheep or dumb, then come the trolls just like we have them here. It's funny. Next thing I'm going to check out Imore. Let's see how that would turnout to be.

must be agony for you. I see you got the glasses on to keep those that pry from your sleepless eyes. just need a cap for that bed hair and people will be none the wiser ;)

Lot of unhappy people on Imore. The time is right for RIMPIRE to strike back. Let's nail it.
BB10 rocks!!!

I agree, the droids look sweet and fancy, but shit, signal and battery life-wise, that really needs to improve.

I'll stick with my 9900/future BB10 device because I know it works. Being on windmobile, I get the signal dropping every not so often, it doesn't bother me, since I need to express this: some towers do get damaged and whoever installs them, needs to maintain them BETTER. The one in my area was damaged due to high winds.