Been a little while since I have done a review of a podcasting app for the Android OS and I will be starting up iOS reviews here soon but I will continue to focus on Android because they are so under used when it comes to podcasting, and I want the android users to know that they can listen to podcasts and they can do so easily with the right app. But this Android app has been around for a while.
Podkicker is a fairly well balanced app that is has many of the needed features for new podcasters to be able to subscribe and listen to shows. There is the great setting that allows to a file to be deleted after playing, and settings like downloading only when connected to a wi-fi access point. There are other features that are great for the dedicated listener. Like all auto play from cars and resume playing when an audio jack is reinserted. One of my favorite features. Unplug for what ever reason and the moment I plug it back in the app starts back up where I left off. Very handy.
Now I will preface this with I have gone to an iOS device here recently and so my mindset on where to find things are little different now. Like closing subwindows in the app tripped me up for a short while because I forgot about the back button. which actually surprised me because for the longest time I was always hitting the non-existent back button on the iPhone 6 but with the readjusting of my mind around how the old GS3 works I was able to find out how to unsubscribe to the shows that are already installed. Yes when you first install the app Podkicker on your Android device you will have about 8 shows that you are already subscribed to. You can unsubscribe to them if you want. They are some good shows quality and production is not bad so if you are new to listening to podcast you might find your first show in this list. Then again if none of these shows interest you then just long press on the show and choose unsubscribe and they are gone. No muss no fuss.
If you want to have the new episodes download automatically you need to go into each episode and choose the option for that particular show. I would actually like to see that set to auto from the start. Yet they do have Chromecast support if like listening from the Television.
I find podkicker to
- Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like
- Recognises rss feeds and will redirect an rss feed from the Browser to the app.
- Uses the iTunes directory so you have a large supply of shows to search through.
- Can import and export your subscriptions using OPML
The Not so Good
- Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like you are subscribed to the podcasts so you quickly have to learn how
- The navigation is not as intuitive as it could be. most everything you are going to need is found by long pressing the particular show.
- Would like to see an easier way to search for new podcasts
- Be nice of the downloads were set to automatic.
ad free $1.99
Download the Podkicker app
…an open-source podcast manager for Android 2.3.3 and above. It offers all the basic features you expect from a podcatcher, like streaming and downloading episodes, refreshing all feeds automatically or adding them to a queue to listen to them later. Moreover, AntennaPod lets you flattr podcasts and episodes from within the app.
And that is just about all that it does. Looking at the app you have the basics. Download, playback, playback at variable speeds, streaming you can set your download options so that it will only download on Wifi, this is good so that people are not eating up their data plans. You can also set your max number of episodes you want to have on your device so that shows you don’t listen to very much are not taking up too much room
Big drawback for Power consumers is that there is not organization options on the app. That mean if you have a hundred different shows you will have to manually organise them so you hear what you want first. There are no list options. So, this does cause a problem for category or list makers who only like listening to certain shows first. For the people who only listen to one or two shows then this will not be too much of a problem.
AntennaPod does integrate with gPodder Podcast network so that you can find new shows, but the search is very basic and so if you are searching for a specific show then use the quotes or you will be digging through 2000 different pages. Yet in the same breath you can manage your subscriptions through gPodder or through your decvice. So the ease is great for everyone.
Speaking of ease the makers of AntennaPod also integrated Flattr in to the app so that you can throw shome shekels at your favorite podcast host and help them pay for their hosting or coffee.
This app is pretty balance needs some features like the ability to automatically notice podcast feeds and offer ability to subscribe. This would go a long ways in helping new podcast listeners into finding shows that they like. Yet, other than that the app is pretty good.
Integration with Gpodder directory
Flattr integration. So you can send your favorite podcast some cash.
You can set whether your shows download on any wifi or only on particular wifi’s. This is great so that you don’t have to worry about eating up some strangers data if they left their mobile hotspot open, or if your office has a slow connection and you don’t want to be inconsiderate and eat up the bandwidth while your shows are downloading.
Setting for number of episodes that can be downloaded, great for not using up data plans
No way of organizing your shows
To get variable speed playback you have to use Presto Sound Library or Prestissimo on your device. This doesn’t make it easy for users new or old who are using the app.
There are good podcast managers there are not so good and then there are those that just knock it out of the park. Hows that for not hiding the lead. Yep, I am a fan of this podcatcher. I have used it for a couple of years and I did run into a problem with the app once. Found that problem was not the app fault but some dalvik cache residue from the previous version of android. So needless to say I am a fan of this nifty app. So, with that little disclaimer lets look at the app Pocket Casts
There is a company with the creatively humorous name of Shifty Jelly. They make an innovative podcast manager called Pocket Casts. What? Innovative? Yep, this app was the introduction to the standards I use for these podcast manager reviews. Which is the auto-delete after playing a file, it also allows you to create a play list that is automatically filled with new episodes. A built in podcast discovery mechanism. Then the ease of use and how intuitive it is to use.
The first time I used Pocket Casts I was thinking wow 4 dollars for this app? It had better be good. Well, they kept their money because it was easy to use and organized my podcast shows into an easy to find format. It didn’t take long after getting my shows lined up, that I found out that I was going to like this app. There was not that much in Pocket Casts that is confusing. If you find something that is not straightforward just look around a bit and you will find the solution or you can get a hold of support and they will do everything they can to help you. There are times that the response time is a little slow but that is very rare. That or you asked a very challenging question and their research is taking a while.
Pocket Casts has some unique features that a few other podcatchers are now carrying. One that I find to be a big feature that I love to use is the Chromecast integration. This is a wonderful but underused feature. There are times that I like to listen to the shows through my television because the ear buds are a little cumbersome or the wife is wanting to talk to me at random times, or both factors come into play.
Pocket casts was the first app I used that had auto refresh and download. Which for people who are new to using and consuming podcasts it helps when they are running late and needing to get out the door. The less the new listener has to worry about the better it is for the podcast community at large. Pocket Casts goes through your shows and downloads all the new ones. You can set the auto-downloads to happen when your phone is on wi-fi or anytime. Not recommended if you are on a tiered data plan, but you can do so if you choose.
There is also the ease of finding new podcasts. Pocket Casts are tied into the iTunes directory so any podcasts you might want to hear are easily found in the app search. Make it simple and the Shifty Jelly crew does that. There is one feature I have yet to see in any other app on the market that is actually needed. The reason it is needed is because everybody at one time or another has to do the dreaded resetting of the phone. That was not a disturbance in the force. It was all those people who are hearing reset the phone to factory defaults. Meaning they are loosing everything on their phone. All the pictures, all their music, all of their podcasts. If you have ever listen to a large catalog of podcasts and then had to reset your phone I feel your pain. If for any other reason you should have Pocket Casts, the feature of Auto-backup or “Sync” is a God send. This feature backs up all of your subscriptions and what the last episode you have listened. After you have logged back in your subscriptions will start downloading you are set. No more going three weeks and realizing you forgot a show. No more deleting tons of already listened to shows. It is pretty close to set it and forget it as you can be.
There are still many reviews to be made on the topic of podcatchers but now you know what I am comparing my experience against.
Oh did I mention they are easy to use?
Things Pocket Casts Does Right
- auto-delete of played episodes
- Backup of your shows
- Auto downloads
Things Pocket Casts Does wrong
- support can be a little slow to respond (Hey they can’t be perfect)
Talk about an app that has matured and improved with advancement. BeyondPod is a nice surprise. I used BeyondPod a few years ago. Not really liking it and was a little turned off with the fremium model. I wasn’t sure what I was going to lose, when the app turned off the premium features. Yet, it was free and I could listen to free just fine.
Remembering back to the cumbersome days of the earlier BeyondPod, I remember getting lost and having problems finding the podcast I was wanting to listen it. This has all been cleared up with the pull out menu that shows all of your podcasts and then they have Smart Play lists. This is a great way for people to have their play lists built every time a new episode is downloaded. This is one of the big draw backs from may of the earlier players. If you want to listen to a list you have to build it yourself each time you get a new episode. DoggCatcher does auto play lists and that is just about it, for the apps that I have reviewed at the point of this post being published.
Yet Now, The layout has been cleaned up and is fresher looking. A new user would be able to easily navigate the different categories and the fairly intuitive design will help people to not get lost and understand how to get from the album art episode page back to the homepage.
It would be nice if at the end of an episode BeyondPod would delete the file before playing next instead of just playing next. This would keep the new users from having to deal with a full device because the old episodes were still on the listening device. Many very new listeners wouldn’t think to look in the settings to change the Playlist Preference to delete and play next.
Auto-updates isn’t a deal breaker so to speak and is a gentle bit of pressure to get people to buy the upgrade. Yet this will be a listeners big grumble. They will be running behind and their shows are not updated and URGH! Screams of frustrations so If you do have a lot of shows you will want to update daily or Weekly. You want to work a download schedule into your routine.
Good things about BeyondPod
- A prefilled suggestion list – Several good podcasts and I added a new show to my lineup. (Thanks BeyondPod)
- Chromecast – great if you have the Chromecast dongle and you listen through your television.
- Easy categories to choose from and you can also create your own
- Settings-o-plenty but not overwhelming
- play Video’s as audio
- Car Mode – big buttons for using while driving.
- Set as a favorite – You will find those episodes you want to listen to again and you will be able to easily find those episodes.
Bad things about BeyondPod
- Mystery meat icons took me a while to find out that the play list icon is just that. I guess the number is what threw me.
- BeyondPod is set to automatically delete the listened too files. You will have to change the setting in ‘Playlist Preferences’
- No automatic updates
- Chromecast is Pay
- Faster speeds
- Automatic updates
Looking for a popular podcast? Looking for the very top most popular podcast shows on the net? Do you not want to be bothered by some of those obscure hidden gems that everyone else is talking about? Then acast is for you!
Who needs a choice? Not if you are going to use acast. This little Android powered app doesn’t have that much in the way of shows available to listen too, unless you want to listen to something from NPR like This American Life, or the BBC. This is because almost all that they have in their catalog is NPR and BBC shows. It also looks like they have a lot of non-English shows so it could be that the app was created over in Europe. This is very possible and is great for European podcasters as that community is growing fast.
The options are Bling sound and Bling Vibration. Now, what is Bling? I thought it was just another name for sparkly jewelry. I could be wrong because I have no idea what Bling actually is other than it might be their name for a notification. You then get bling sound to tell you that there is a new show available. If this is the case it might help to explain what Bling is and why you would want it on.
They do have categories available and so if you are looking for a broad category you might find what you are looking here.
The directory is curated. This does make for a sparsely populated directory but if they are choosing only quality shows to appear then you will have only the best to listen too so though I am not a big fan of not allowing every podcast in I do understand the benefit of only having the cream of the crop. This way if you want if you better work at making your podcast the best it can possibly be.
Selection, this app doesn’t have it. You are not able to add other RSS feed to the list. The only shows you can listen to are the shows they have curated on their directory. Now are they growing? I am going to assume so because I submitted Podcast Dojo to their directory and I received an auto-responder stating that there is a backlog of submissions that they are plowing through so yes it may be added in the next week or next year.
Not able to add RSS feeds to the show list nor are you able to add OPML files to bulk add your shows to the application. Again you are able to listen to their approved shows and their shows only. This can be good but when you are limited to the only language you understand being English then, your choices are drastically reduced.
It is great to know that there is a group that is taking the time to develop an application that is manicured and curated to a specification. The problem is if that is going to be the case there are going to need to be more people listening to the shows and use the RSS tags to find out what categories are being used. Will keep an eye open on this app. I will say it might work for a beginner app because they will be able to find some great quality shows. Yet, that new listener may only get a very small glimpse of the huge world of podcasts topics that are actually out there, grow frustrated with the lack of selection and give up.
So, If you are wanting to test drive a podcast manager app then you can try this out but you might want to also keep your eye peeled for an app that will accesses a wider number of shows. but then again you might find all that you want right here
A few weeks ago I was listening to The Feed with Elsie and Rob and the topic of Android podcatchers came up and they were talking about how much potential this fairly new app had if they executed their thoughts correctly. Since I am currently on a quest to find the good podcast managers out there thought this would be good to try to be current and talk about a new app that has been released.
I downloaded this app ACast, and this app does have some pretty neat ideas. And that is all this app has is ideas. The app creators were thinking of trying to get as many different avenues of finding a podcast. Great idea but poorly executed.
Now before I go into this bash fest let me give an over view of what this podcatcher is suppose to accomplish.
Say you are wanting to search for Podcast Dojo. You Go to the “Add” Tab and you see 5 sub-tabs. The first of these tabs is Search. When you press the search tab you get a menu that says
- Media & News
Now when you searched Podcasts you get a quick flash at the bottom that says temporary error.
Go and search on PodGrove and you get “Found 0 Results” Try to find Podgrove on Google and you dont have anything If you good to podgrove.com you have a Ruby on Rails error. So I would be lead to think that this is the site and it has been down for a good while.
If you search using DigitalPodcast you get the same error message “Found 0 Results”. I thought this directory sounded familiar. So, I looked and yes it is in the List of directories you want to use, that means that Podcast Dojo should be in the directory, and sure enough when I tried to resubmit the feed to Digital Podcast I get the message that the feed is already submitted. So, that tells me that the api that ACast is using is closed now, and the app maker hasn’t updated their app.
Podcast Search Service option got a result for Podcast dojo again I had submitted the show to that directory
Twitter might have worked but it was shut down when Twitter changed their API
Media & News you get a “Temporary error!”
Google still works.
The Digital podcast result got my attention and I decided to look at their blog. And then saw that their app hasn’t been updated in over 38 Months! I thought this was a new app? With the results of my searching I found out that yes there is a new app called acast, not ACast which I was trying to review. So with all that I found I can not recommend this app if any reason because it is abandoned ware. There will not be any new updates so. This is the first 1 star in the review list, and I bet you know who the next app review is going to be?
Now a software developers time and work should be compensated. This I understand as much as anyone. Yet if you are going to give a person a taste of a your product then make it a taste not a tease. That is exactly what the developers over at Heawo Studios have done. They dont give you a a sample of a mediocre product. They give you a tease of a mediocre product. That product is Cast++.
Lets look at the positives
Cast++ has a huge repository of shows. This is because, this podcast manager connects itself to the iTunes directory. So, you get all of the glory that is iTunes on your android powered device. The Interface a clean and intuitive with an easy to identify as subscription, play, repeat, and settings.
What is missing
Options! There are no options in this app. granted that can be argued as a good thing it is not good to have NO options. If you go into settings, you will not see anything other than Rate the app, buy the pro version and contact us.
There is no download options. You can not chose when this podcatcher will decided to download the latest episode of what ever show. of course that is because there is no auto download. Nope if you want to download all of the latest shows you have to go down the line one by one and start the download yourself. So, lets hope you are not running late on a Monday, ’cause you will have to eat up your data plan.
There is no way to add multiple shows with an OPML file. Nor does this lite version of the Podcatcher even allow for more than 3 shows! Ok granted many beginner podcast listeners only listen to about 3 shows so that might work. Power consumers? No, you don’t want this app either, if for any reason because of the no auto download
That is right
Now I do understand that the developers should make money from their hard work. Yeah capitalism! Yet…
Now yes I did use the lite version and at the bottom it says you get more options with the pro version. I did go and throw 5 dollars at this developer and took a look at the changes you receive for payment. You get more podcasts… yep that is it. nothing other than that so. Cast++ Not worth the 5 dollars they want you to punk down for an app that has no options at all.
There is easy and then there is ShortOrange. ShortOrange is a be anywhere podcast player that is easy to figure out and use. If you are new to podcast listening this is a easy way to find out if you are going to want to listen to more.
Why is Shortorange a good podcast starter app?
First it is easy and straight forward. There are not any extras with this other than you can share these shows with friends and listen. There is an iOS app for an easier time to pull up. The Podcast manager itself is light and since all podcasts that are being listened to are stored online they do not take up any space on your device whether that is a computer or a phone. It streams the shows directly to your device.
This podcatcher is also cross-platform. That means what you have on your iOS device will also play on your desktop. The shows you have subscribed to will only have to be subscribed once.
You can search iTunes directory, is a big… HUGE plus for Shortorage because the majority of shows are on iTunes. That way you will not have to do much searching. If you do have a show that is for some reason not on Itunes then you will be able to add it to your list of shows by using the RSS feed.
The big advantage is also it big draw back. The fact that the shows are not downloaded can mean that from time to time you will not be able to listen to your shows or if you are on a tiered data plan on AT&T or Verizon then you will be consuming your allotted data and could end up with a larger phone service bill than normal. So if you do use this I do recommend that you make sure you have a WiFi connection at hand.
All in all this podcatcher is great and I applaud the team that created it. good job!
Some people like challenges. Some people are truly nerds for the whole experience. If you want to do a podcast manager in one of the most aggravating and slow means, then try doing it command line style. Yep like the old DOS days, No User interface just type the command and letter her rip! If you are up and like that type if frustration you are either have self hate issues or you like to use Firenze, the command-line podcast and news aggregator. admitted I didn’t go very far into this app just because I don’t care to take a step back in tech. Firenze does have a UI but it is very basic and though am impressed with the number of features, this is not for a beginner. dont really know if it is for advanced users.
You can set conditions for downloads
You can manager your ID3 tags
You can split the mp3 files into different increments. Say you want an hour long show split into 30 minute pieces this podcaster will do it.
Firenze allows for setting of maximum simultaneous downloads.
You can access protected feeds
Also Firenze allows you to synchronize to your MP3 player
Allows you to import an OPML file
There are more command you can use than I would even know what to do with. This would be a great podcast manager if they improved the user interface
Download Firenze and learn all the command line codes on their site
Want simple? Want easy? Then HermesPod could be for you. This little program is quick, and easy to use. Dont try to find any extra bells and whistles this program doesn’t them. It is built to be easy. This is a interesting no Bull means of getting the latest podcast episodes that you want to listen to. You can have the MP3 files download to your computer and from there transfer them to what ever device you choose and beyond that… Yep that is about it. The config section shows just how easy it can be with only three options. What device you want to listen on. What folder do you want the shows save to, and if you pay something we will get rid of the ads
The Manage subscriptions is great. There is no in your face listen to this podcast advertisement it is enter the RSS feed and off you go if you don’t know the RSS feed there is a browser in the program so you can go to the website of your favorite podcast click a button and it will find the correct RSS feed. There is a recommended podcasts for those who are just starting out with listening to podcasting.
After downloading your shows, you will want to play them on something. You can link your favorite mp3 player to HermesPod or you can sync the shows to your portable mp3 player or phone or whatever it is you like to use.
Good points of HermesPod
Easy! The number one complaint many people have about podcasting is the difficulty of listening to shows. This podcast manager does a good job of keeping the learning curve small so that the new people are not scared off.
I like the browser search feature in this Podcatcher because many people are comfortable in using a browser and to just hit a button and poof wala! people are able to get the rss feed with out really having to know what an RSS feed is or what it does. Perfect job executed in that matter.
Bad Points of HermesPod
The lack of portability the big drawback. It is easy, and good for the office but you are tied to that one place. That is the worst I can say about this little program.