Podcasts are great entertainment while on the go, be it running across town for exercising or driving across town for work. That makes an Android smartphone an excellent place to store and play them, since your phone will always be with you.
There is just one problem. Android’s audio player isn’t great for organizing multiple podcasts. Fortunately, there are apps that can sort through your podcasts and download the latest episodes. Let’s look at two options, one free and one paid.
If price – or rather, lack thereof – is your main concern, MyPOD Podcast Manager will likely be your first stop. The Lite version of the app, which is supported by Android 1.5 and up, can keep track of up to 10 podcast feeds at once.
Functional is the best way to describe this manager. From the primary menu, users can add feeds by opening feeds and websites and then using the search function at the bottom of the menu that opens. Searching actually works well. I was able to find five of my favorite podcasts without problem.
It’s after a feed has been added that the app becomes a little tricky. In order to download a podcast the feed must first be loaded, then the file downloaded from the feed’s page, which is rather awkward. Users are also prompted to name the podcast. It would be convenient if that were already handled by the app.
With that said, free is a difficult price to argue with, and MyPOD Podcast Manager can handle up to 10 feeds at no charge. An unlimited number can be tracked with the Pro version, which is $3.24. There is, however, a better option for users willing to pay for their podcast manager.
Like MyPOD, this app manages podcasts. In results the app is very much the same, which may make the $6.99 price seem unreasonable. Execution counts as well however, and that’s where BeyondPod is much smoother.
Feeds can be added by searching for them or by adding them via a reader, such as Google Reader. Once added however, you’ll never have to see the RSS page for the podcast again. The podcast is added to your feeds library, and once you open the podcast you’ll be presented with a list of available episodes. These are taken directly from the feed and can downloaded with a single touch. Simple!
The feed library is broken up into categories, which can be defined by the user, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. It’s also possible to view all podcast episodes, regardless of the source, on screen. That can be helpful when you’re looking for the newest.
One final feature of note is the widget, which is connected to the player. The player itself is nice – the interface is large, which means scrolling through an episode is easy even if you have fingers as fat as mine – but the widget provides easy access to the pause/play button as well as information about the currently playing episode. BeyondPod is not unique in offering a widget (MyPod has a basic one as well), but I do think its widget is the best.
So is all of this worth $6.99? I think so. It’s made my podcast enjoyment much easier, as now all I have to do is add a podcast I want on my phone to my Google Reader. I can then easily import, download and listen to episodes without directly visiting the feed again.
Although these are two dedicated podcast managers, they’re far from the only way to listen to podcasts on your Android device. Angela also recently reviewed Pocket Casts which is also an app you should check out.
Do you have a favorite podcasting app for the Android that you prefer? Or do you think podcast managers aren’t useful enough to justify themselves? Let us know in the comments.