Pocket Casts – An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

podcast300x300   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]If you love your podcasts and love your smartphone, you may have noticed that this should be a perfect meeting of technology and that there’s just not a lot of great applications out there that can do the trick. Well, there wasn’t. Not until recently, anyway.

Pocket Casts by Shifty Jelly has now jumped on to the scene with an incredibly feature-filled application. Obviously, the creators of this app have spent long hours thinking about exactly what is required of a podcast application in order to make it perfect. Then they went out and built this brilliant app that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Getting Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is a paid app for Android and iPhone, but we’ll walk through the Android version today. It costs just a few Aussie dollars (Android version is currently priced at AU$2.70 – about US$2.90 or €2) and believe me, this app is worth every cent. If you want to try it, the Android app store will refund the full amount if you return it within 15 minutes.

iphone podcasts   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

Using Pocket Casts

It’s really easy to jump straight in and find some podcasts to listen to. Click on the search icon and you’ll be presented with a search bar and a number of other great ways to browse the best podcasts: by popular podcasts, podcast directories, category or importing podcasts from a URL or OPML file.

search for podcasts   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

The popular podcasts can be generated according to global settings or limited to a specific country.

import   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

Everyday use is really straightforward, especially with Pocket Casts’ great introduction screen to get you started.

pocket casts intro   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

Awesome Features of Pocket Casts

One of the best things Pocket Casts does is to monitor your subscriptions via their servers. This means they constantly check to see if your podcasts have new episodes, so that your phone doesn’t have to. In other words, when you press “refresh” you get an instant update of all your podcasts instead of waiting around for each one to check individually.

When you manually download your podcasts they will come without restriction, regardless of whether you’re using Wi-Fi or 3G internet. In your automatic settings you can tell Pocket Casts to only download new episodes when you’re using Wi-Fi if you like. Downloads also run in the background so that they don’t get in your way.

podcasts   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

You can choose to get status bar or vibrate notifications for new episodes so that you never get left behind. Users choose where to store the podcasts and can delete played episodes or all episodes whenever they need to free up space. There’s also a quick skip feature so you can jump 30 seconds ahead, 10 seconds back or skip to the next episode.

Users can set up podcast playlists, which is pretty handy when you’re about to go for a drive. You can even tell Pocket Casts to send the signal via Airplay so that your speakers can do the work.

Pocket Casts switches seamlessly between video podcasts and audio podcasts, so you don’t have to do anything manually. Just listen – or watch.

Gripes & Ideas

My main complaints with the Pocket Casts app is in regards to space saving. I’d like to be able to tell it how much of my SD card it’s allowed to use for downloads, tell it to automatically delete podcasts I’d seen or heard a day or so after I’d viewed it (not straight away, just in case), and I’d definitely like them to make this app App2SD. At 3MB on my phone it’s just too big!

Pocket Jelly Spash   Pocket Casts   An Awesome New Podcast App [Android & iPhone]

One other feature I’d like to see added would be the ability to scrobble to Last.fm.

Other Podcasting Stuff

Since you’re obviously a fan of podcasts, you might like to read these articles on finding podcasts you might like and creating your own podcast with your smartphone:

Give it a go and let us know what you think of Pocket Casts in the comments!

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7 Comments -

0 votes

Anonymous

Interesting review but it would have been helpful to compare with other podcast managers.
I changed a few months ago from Google Listen to DoggCatcher (both on Android). I find DoggCatcher difficult to set and to use and not particularly pleasing to the eye. At least it is not as buggy as Google Listen (which regularly deleted all downloads without warning).
On the other hand, DoggCatcher cannot overcome restrictions set up by podcast editors on the time availability of their podcasts: Google Listen can get older podcasts easily but DoggCatcher can’t.
Don’t know whether Pocket Cast can do that.

I am not sure to understand the usefulness of what is presented as the main feature of Pocket Cast (managing updates from a server). DoggCatcher updates podcast at an interval determined by the user (including individually for each podcast) which is fine and I assume that most other podcast managers can do something like that. Why is this such a nice feature?

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

There’s another article comparing top podcasting apps due to come out soon. :)

The server update means that the Pocket Casts server already knows if your podcasts have new episodes available. When you hit refresh it will update all of your podcasts in one poll of the Pocket Casts server, rather than in several dozen polls of individual podcast sources. Far quicker!

0 votes

Anonymous

Thank you for your reply.
I can’t wait for this new article.
I understand the technical point re. server update but this still does not ring a bell maybe because I follow less than 20 podcasts: updating is done during idle time and usually takes less than a few seconds per podcast. Wasting a few less seconds does not really seem relevant.
Pocket Casts seems on the other hand to have a very interesting feature that DoggCatcher lacks: the ability to get older podcasts from a feed (essential to me at least for all new feeds).

0 votes

Joshua Cowan

Last I checked, you could download any of the most recent 500 podcasts in a particular feed.  Are you sure you’ve explored DoggCatcher?  It’s a relatively expensive app to just buy and not fully utilize.  Check your Preferences -> Global Feed Options -> Number of Items to make sure it’s set to the number you want.  You can also set it per-feed via long-pressing on the feed in the “Feeds” view.

I’m not in any way affiliated with DoggCatcher btw, just a happy user.  I’ve tried most of the available Android podcatchers, and IMNSHO nothing else comes close: stable/reliable, light on resources, spiffy “Add Feed” facility, several auto-download options, several auto-delete policies, variable playback speed, headset control goodies, advanced notifications, auto playlists, feed categories (views), tenacious enclosure downloader, etc.  The interface could still use some help, but it has improved greatly in the last year or so.

It was one of the first, if not the first, podcatchers in the Android Market (before the market could even handle paid apps) and seems to be a properly-coded Android app (wrt Android app lifecycle, services, etc.)… which goes a long way toward stability and resource efficiency.

0 votes

Anonymous

I did. I have checked the preferences and set them to dowload as many podcasts as possible. I checked this with DoggCatcher and they confirmed that DoggCatcher could not download podcasts which are no longer available on the official feed. I understand that but somehow Google Listen can download older podcasts.
I am otherwise happy with DoggCatcher (the interface is not very smart to say the least) but this feature is really important to me (when trying new feeds, I usually want to listen back to older podcasts first).

0 votes

E2jedi

I’ve tried then all and icatcher is the best. 1.25x, 1.5x, and 2x playback, AirPlay support, and really smart features. Give it a shot.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Will do. Thanks. :)