Android Expert Profiles

How I Use Android: Pocket Casts developer Russell Ivanovic

He develops one of Android's best podcasting apps and hosts his own Android podcast -- so when it comes to using Android himself, Russell Ivanovic definitely knows what he likes.

How I Use Android: Russell Ivanovic

Hello, Internet. I'm listening.

No -- I'm not doing my best Frasier Crane impression. (Well...okay. Maybe a little.) I'm actually just getting really into podcasts as of late. And I promise I'm not only saying that because I've started one of my own. (Though it is pretty awesome. And you should totally listen to it.)

For a while now, I've been in the midst of rediscovering the joy of talk radio -- or this modern equivalent of it, with its near-infinite array of on-demand chat for any mood or interest. If I'm feeling surly (and when am I not?), I can get my Adam Carolla fix with a couple quick taps. If I'm feeling like geeking out -- well, hell, the only trouble there is deciding which show I want tickling my cochlea at that particular moment, right?

Maybe it's TWiT's All About Android (as long as that JR guy isn't the guest). Or maybe it's Chris Lacy's The Blerg, Liam Spradlin's Design Notes, or the aptly named Material. So many choices, such little time. And those shows and categories barely even scratch the surface of what's piquing my interest these days.

I tell you all of this because the person partially responsible for my podcast-listening habit is a fellow named Russell Ivanovic -- and he's one smart cookie. Ivanovic is the co-founder of Shifty Jelly as well as one of the developers of its marquee app, the multiplatform Pocket Casts podcast player.

Pocket Casts has plenty of competition in the Android podcasting arena -- even now from Google itself, thanks to this week's launch of podcast support within Google Play Music. But the app's extensive list of features and exceptional Material-inspired design (did I mention that Ivanovic's also a host of the aforementioned Material podcast?) make it a tough-to-topple favorite for many a podcast fan -- myself included.

That's why I thought Ivanovic would be the perfect person to feature in this month's "How I use Android" profile. I've spent countless hours enjoying his work on my devices and in my ears, and I'm more than a little curious how he makes Android fit into his own day-to-day life. Aren't you?

Yes? Of course yes. Good -- then let's do this. In his own words, this is how Russell Ivanovic uses Android.

The basics

Your current primary phone: Nexus 6P. I have loved many phones in my time, and in truth I'm a fickle lover. I swap phones more regularly than most, and it's rare that I have one for more than two months.

I chose the 6P because it runs stock Android, has an amazing camera and screen, and can literally read my fingerprints. Before that it was the Galaxy S6, and before that it was the iPhone 6S.

Oh -- that's the other thing: I jump sides between iOS and Android regularly.

What case is on your phone (if any): Cases are evil, so I don't use them. It just feels wrong to take a beautifully designed device and stick a paper bag over it. That said, my device has lots of dings and scratches -- so you win some, you lose some.

Your current tablet (if any): I don't use tablets. I got all excited when they were first a thing and bought every one...but I quickly found that between my desktop at work and the laptop and other desktop I have at home, I have no use for a bigger touchscreen. I get why people like them -- don't get me wrong -- but I just don't need or want one.

Your current smartwatch (if any): The Moto 360 2015. I have a soft spot for Motorola and the overall design of this watch. That, coupled with how light and comfortable it is, makes it a no-brainer for me.

I also love that it's round. I don't know why, but watches just shouldn't be rectangles. I don't want to wear a computer on my wrist, and the Moto 360 does the job of blending in as a "normal" watch.

What face you're using on your watch right now: It's kinda boring -- the default Moto 360 one called "Dials." I tried many others and this one just has a certain simple elegance to it.

Moto 360:

A close second, though -- and something completely different -- is the Space And Time Watch Face. I could watch that little rocket ship go round for hours.

The home screen

A quick walk-through of your phone's home screen setup: I decided to be honest and just screenshot my phone as it is right now rather than spending time picking nice wallpaper and adding/removing apps.

Russell Ivanovic Home Screen (1)

In the bottom row, you have my most used apps: Pocket Casts (of course, for podcasts!), Hangouts (which I use for SMS as well), Chrome, and Inbox. I love having my calendar as a widget on my home page to see what's going on, so I apologize for removing all the events on it; it's not normally solid blocks of color like that.

The rest is fairly boring: In my "Reading" folder, I have Twitter, Falcon Pro, Reddit Sync Pro, and Press -- basically all the apps I need to keep up with Twitter, Reddit, and RSS. I use Twitter to get timely notifications, while I tend to do all my Twitter browsing in Falcon because it's just a nicer interface. Reddit Sync Pro isn't the prettiest, but it's the Reddit client I feel fits me the best. I love everything about how it works. Press has sadly not been updated for a long time now, since both [developers] Jordan and Jay have full time jobs. It makes me sad, and on almost a monthly basis I almost decide to write a new RSS app -- but then I remember that Press still works, I'm busy, and I do like how it's structured.

The "Tracking" folder isn't as exciting as it might sound. I'm not tracking you; it's more just me keeping up with my own stuff. Banking, TV shows via TV Show Time, Dropbox, 1Password (whose Android app is not great, but I use their service on iOS and OS X already), the stock Clock app for alarms, and an app to keep an eye on my mobile data usage.

The last thing that stands out to me is the Camera app on my home screen. I just realized that I literally never use it, since on the Nexus 6P, you can double click the power button to launch the camera app. Why is that even there, Russell?! Why?

Russell Ivanovic Home Screen (2)

On the second page, you've got the Pocket Weather Australia widget to see what the weather will be like when I wake up and the LIFX widget to control the three fancy-pants smart bulbs I have in my house.

All the Android Wear related apps are shoved into an unnamed folder. Periscope, I don't really use...and my guilty pleasure: Google Play Opinion Rewards. Do I want to spend 30 seconds answering a survey that will make me 10 cents? Hell yes, I do! Don't ask me why -- it's addicting to get that little "A new survey is available" alert.

Fallout 4 I played for like four hours and the app wouldn't stay connected for more than two minutes, so no idea why that's still there. Apple Music, because I like to laugh. The Phone app because very occasionally I have to call people.

Mobile Mouse allows me to control my Mac Mini that's plugged into my TV when I can't find the mouse. Again, it's a hideous app, but it gets the job done and I don't feel the need to find a better one.

Cabinet is an awesome file browser. Originally, there was an unannounced beta app on this screen, which I almost didn't notice -- so I lied, I had to retake this one in case the developers of that app are reading this. ;)

What launcher you're using: I use the stock [Google Now] launcher. Sorry, Chris Lacy -- I know we're countrymen, and I've heard amazing things about Action Launcher...but for me, the stock one does everything I need it to do. I've never really wanted for more.

What wallpaper you're using: It's just one of the built-in Android ones for the 6P. I like it because it's dark, and because I'm too lazy to find something better.

Anything else of note (interesting customizations, special icons, etc): It's stock all the way down!

The experience and the apps

What's one of your favorite Android-related tips or tricks?

Well, I didn't know until two weeks into owning a Nexus 6P that you can double click the camera button to launch the camera. I hope at least one person out there is falling off their chair like I did when someone showed me.

Beyond the obvious stock Google programs, a few apps you can't live without right now (and a quick word about why):

If we're talking about hours used, it would definitely have to be Slack, Pocket Casts and Reddit Sync Pro.

Slack is an amazing communication tool I use for work and personal stuff. I live in there a lot of days.

Pocket Casts -- because I'm hopelessly addicted to podcasts. The thing I love about it is that even if it weren't a product I'd worked on, I'd still use the heck out of it. It just fits me like a glove.

Reddit Sync Pro -- because I like to kill time browsing Reddit now and again.

Check out more Android expert profiles below or in the official Google+ collection -- and stay tuned for even more entries in the weeks to come!

Icons in title image courtesy of Freepik at

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