How to Switch from BlackBerry to Android

Matthew Hughes 03-06-2015

Earlier this year, I lost my Blackberry in a taxi.


Losing your phone is inevitably a traumatic experience. I’m not just talking about losing your photos, messages, and memories, although that definitely does suck. Rather, it’s what comes afterwards So Your iPhone Was Lost or Stolen? Here's What to Do If your iPhone was lost or stolen, here's how to locate, recover, and block your iPhone to protect your data. Read More .

The hours spent on hold with your network, waiting for them to block your IMEI number What Is My Phone's IMEI? Here's What You Need to Know You might have heard the acronym “IMEI” and know it relates to the identity of your phone, but what exactly is it for? Read More and send you a new SIM card. The Twitterless and Angry Birds-free commutes. And most of all, the annoyance of having to cough up for a new handset.

Not too eager to fork out the £500 for a new Blackberry, I ended up getting a cheap Android handset. The Huawei Honor C3 ticked all my boxes in terms of specifications, and the egalitarian in me figured the Chinese intelligence services should have the same access to my personal data as the NSA does. It’s only fair.

Millions have switched from Blackberry to Android, as the fortunes of the once dominant Canadian phone manufacturer have faded. Millions more will probably do so, tempted by a greater choice of apps and devices. But I should warn you, it isn’t easy.

Blackberry, I Just Can’t Quit You

Android is certainly more capable than Blackberry 10 10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today BlackBerry 10 has some pretty irresistible features. Here are ten reasons why you might want to give it a go. Read More  — the latest and greatest version of the Blackberry OS. It does more stuff, and it’s vastly more customizable than Blackberry 10.



But while Blackberry is certainly less broad in what it does, it makes up for it by excelling in a few key areas. From travel apps, to messaging, to security. Here’s how you can get the best of Blackberry on your Android.


As a frequent traveler, my killer app was the little known Blackberry Travel. It was, perhaps, the most sublime travel management app ever created.

Once installed, Blackberry Travel will automatically scour your inbox, looking for hotel reservations and flight bookings, which are then aggregated and stored. This allows you to track your flight in real-time and anticipate for any delays, and to have your hotel address on hand.



On the day before you’re due to travel, it’ll also remind you of your trip, and even give you the weather forecast for your destination.


It didn’t do anything special. It was just a really good travel app. It just worked.


I still miss it. That said, there are alternatives for Android that come really close. We’ve talked about some of these in the past, like the awesome (and highly recommended) EasilyDo EasilyDo Or Google Now: Which Is The Better Personal Assistant? EasilyDo is a virtual personal assistant for iOS and Android that can be compared to Google Now. In fact, as we'll discover shortly, it's much better. Read More .

But my personal favorite, and the one that comes closest to Blackberry Travel, is Tripit TripIt - A Travel Organizer That Makes Remembering Your Travel Plans Easy [iOS] Traveling is a giant pain in the rear. You have to book all of your flights, hotels, rental cars, dinner reservations, and so on. After you book it, you have to keep track of all... Read More . Download the app and let it connect to your email inbox, and it’ll start looking for bookings and reservations. It’s not 100% accurate, though, and it’ll inevitably miss some bookings which you’ll have to manually add.


This isn’t too painful, and it can usually fill in the blanks once provided sufficient details. For instance, a flight number and a date is enough for it to work out what flight you’re going to be taking.


Once it’s got your details, it’ll even give you directions to your hotel from the airport.


Tripit can also track and monitor flights in real time, although this is a feature of Tripit Pro, which costs $49 per year. The paid version also comes with more detailed itineraries, and more sophisticated tracking of frequent flyer points.


One of the first products Blackberry ever released was the Blackberry 850; a dedicated emailing device, which came with the now-iconic Blackberry physical keyboard. This was the first in a long line of products that established Blackberry as the king of email.


Even on the newer Blackberry phones, the emailing experience is absolutely glorious. Is the same true for Android?

Well, almost. While it’s nice to have the full functionality of Gmail baked-in, there are a few warts and carbuncles to complain about. Push mail doesn’t work quite as well as it does on Blackberry, and quite a few emails fail to render properly, or at the correct scale. But, being Android, there are alternatives.

I’ve tried a few, but I only really liked one. Mailbox, which is also available for iOS and OS X, turns even the most overloaded inbox into something simple, elegant, and above all, manageable. Something the official Blackberry client manages to do effortlessly. Download it from the Play Store.

But if you’re still looking for inspiration, check out this list of compelling Android email clients The 10 Best Email Apps for Android, Compared Email on a smartphone? Use one of these excellent email apps for Android to make the experience more productive and enjoyable. Read More .


There’s a reason why Obama, Merkel, the US military, and the Department of Defense all use Blackberry smartphones. They’re the epitome of smartphone security. That’s largely due to the fact they’ve been built from the ground-up with security in mind, and RIM exercises a huge amount of control over its phones. But Android? Not so much.


Besides the fact that Android wasn’t built with the same security-oriented focus, it also suffers from a slow and fragmented ecosystem, with many Android users running older, insecure versions of the OS. This issue is exacerbated by the fact Google’s taken a very hands-off approach, and hasn’t done anything to prevent manufacturers from shipping phones with malware.

But, there are ways to make your Android smartphone that bit more secure.

Perhaps the most effective move you could make would be to escape the staggered, broken Android release cycle. You should consider switching to a community-driven ROM, like Cyanogenmod How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More  or Paranoid Android, where updates are issued in a timely manner. Where possible, you might want to consider installing a hardened ROM, like the upcoming GuardianRom or Tails Mobile OS, which will be built with an emphasis on privacy and device security. Until then, we recommend OmniRom 5 Reasons Why You Should Flash OmniROM To Your Android Device With a bunch of custom ROM options out there, it can be hard to settle on just one -- but you should really consider OmniROM. Read More , which is one of the most secure Android ROMs on the market.

Until the release of Blackberry 10, all emails sent to and from a Blackberry device, and all browser traffic, was secured with strong, point-to-point encryption, and routed through the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) network. This meant that neither governments, nor ISPs, nor hackers sitting on a hotspot could intercept your mail. Incidentally, this lead to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and India almost banning the devices.

There’s nothing quite like BIS for Android, although if you want to secure your traffic with strong, point-to-point encryption, you can always just use a VPN. Here are some of the best The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More  VPN services money can buy.

If that’s not enough, check out these important Android hardening tips Forget The Kill Switch: Secure Your Android Device Today Google has announced they'll be adding a kill switch to Android, but until it arrives, you can still secure your Android device by enabling remote locking and wiping features. Read More .


My God, the iconic Blackberry Keyboard. Where do I begin? It was, perhaps, the most compelling argument to own one of the devices.


Each key is lovingly sculpted and shaped to the exact curvature of the human thumb, and provides a delightful little click, making it a joy to type texts and long emails with both speed and precision. Virtual keyboards simply don’t compare.

Of course, you can always buy a bluetooth-enabled keyboard, although it’s unlikely they’ll compare to the stunning design and build quality of the classic Blackberry keyboard. For serious typists, you can even connect a full-sized keyboard to your phone, like the affordable AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard Review and Giveaway Today, I will be reviewing the AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad/iPhone, which is Amazon’s own take on the Bluetooth keyboard niche. This keyboard currently sells for $45 on Amazon, and we bought this unit ourselves... Read More .

With that said, there are a number of virtual keyboards that come close. Swype, for instance, Swype For Android, Reviewed: A Hassle To Install, But Is It Worth It? I've long since fell in love with sliding/swiping keyboard, as my SlideIT review from a year ago shows. But when people hear "swiping keyboard," SlideIT isn't usually the first name that comes to mind: Swype... Read More makes it easy to write entire words by tracing your finger across the screen, hitting each letter.


Google’s voice recognition is similarly impressive, and matches the high bar set by Apple’s Siri, making it simple to accurately dictate messages. Although it wasn’t always that good MakeUseOf Tests: What's The Best Voice Recognition Keyboard For Android? Voice recognition has become increasingly popular, and more options are becoming available over time. One can hope that with this increased popularity comes increased accuracy as well. Can you really dictate whole sentences to your... Read More .

But overall, Android gives you a lot of choice when it comes to your keyboard layout and style, though we have tested the best of them MakeUseOf Tests: What Is The Best Android Keyboard? In this follow-up to our post from 2011 featuring 6+ fantastic Honeycomb keyboards, I’d like to take a good hard look at four of the most popular and well-regarded sliding keyboard. Call it a “keyboard... Read More . Give them a try. Experiment. Eventually, you’ll find one that satisfies even the most embittered Blackberry refugee.


One of the reasons why Blackberry devices caught on with the public at large was BBM, which made it possible to send real-time messages, without having to pay the (once) expensive SMS costs. For a while, BBM was the king of messaging. But that ended around the time Kik, WhatsApp, and Viber burst on to the scene. Now, there’s more choice than ever.


Whatsapp is the largest, obviously, and almost certainly the one your friends are using

But that’s not to say it’s the only one. There are even options for security conscious users, as Blackberry aficionados usually are. One of the most popular is Wickr, which we took a look at a while back Wickr Brings Secure Messaging And Snapchat-like Message Destruction To Android With the recent NSA scandals, many people have lost confidence in the privacy of their communications; Wickr is the app to change that. While it has been on iOS for a while, the Android edition... Read More .

Failing that, you can still fall back on the trusty Blackberry Messenger, which was ported to Android and iOS in 2013.

Anything Else?

How did your switch from Blackberry to Android go? Are we missing anything? Did you find a killer replacement to an important Blackberry feature? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Photo Credits: Blackberry (K?rlis Dambr?ns), Presidential Blackberry (Peter Rogers), Keyboard (3gmemories), Denys Prykhodov /

Related topics: Android Customization, BlackBerry, Custom Android Rom.

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  1. Pat
    December 20, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    My BB10 bricked during the last OS update while I was on a business trip. My carrier no longer offers BB so I did the switch to Android. So far so good but the two things I really miss the most are the keyboard and Blackberry Travel. Since they're now making Android phones, I have hopes that they will port the app over to Android at some point. TripIt had lots of issues and I stick with World Traveler which is pretty good but doesn't monitor your mailbox or the flights. Have to manually forward things to them. :(

  2. Anonymous
    June 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I switched from Blackberry to Android only because my screen had debris under it and Future Shop (now defunct) did not deal with Blackberry phones as a replacement. I still miss the keyboard because I have trouble getting my fat little fingers to land where they're supposed to. Spell check helps a lot by finishing words that it thinks I'm trying to type. I had the Curve model and it fit perfectly in the cell phone pocket of all my purses. Now phones are getting bigger instead of smaller. I would have liked to see more decent apps for the Blackberry, but I didn't have the Blackberry 10 operating system, so less choice. And Blackberry is just such a cool name, instead of "where's my Blackberry?" are you going to say "where's my Android?"