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)
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