Podcast lovers used to download their favorite episodes to their desktops and laptops, then send the files over to their SD cards, plug the SD cards into their Android phones, and voila! Instant podcast viewing/listening on the phone.
All that has changed today with Android smartphones’ beefier processing power and ultra-high-speed data connections. With smartphones getting more powerful hardware and faster broadband connectivity (read: 4G), podcast junkies are smacking their lips with much delight and gusto.
But, what app to use? Ahh, there’s the rub. Not to worry, Watson. Android Authority comes to save the day. We recommend the following 9 best podcast apps for Android.
There is life beyond catching podcasts–and that’s enjoying the podcasts without a headache. That’s what BeyondPod is basically trying to say. It is a sophisticated program, and in its sophistication lies its glory. It supports all the well-known feed protocols: RSS 2.0, Atom, RDF, and OPML. You will want BeyondPod if you need better control over what it does. For instance, you can specify how many downloads to make at any given time, or tell it to download only one file (or just the latest podcasts or all the feeds in the directory), or when you would like to discard old podcasts that you still have on your disk. You don’t need to wait for downloads to complete because BeyondPod allows background downloading. You can set it to stop playing a media file after a certain period–this feature is useful if you watch video or listen to podcasts in bed while waiting for sleep to come. Seriously, this app has a long list of features that you can enjoy completely free for 7 days, after which you will need to shell out USD$7.00 to continue podding beyond. A tablet version for Honeycomb is available, but still in beta.
If trapping podcasts is your game, this app is worth a shot. PodTrapper Podcast Manager specializes in podcasts only. Use it to automatically retrieve podcast episodes using either Wi-Fi or your mobile carrier’s data connection. If, by grave misfortune, you are tied by a contract to a difficult carrier, this app gives you a workaround: you can download your podcasts using a desktop app. Managing your podcasts with PodTrapper has no traps, however, as most of it you can do automatically: auto sorting, auto management, auto delete after playback. Disconnected from your Wi-Fi? That’s no trap either. This app allows you to resume downloads. Only the paid version (USD$7.00) is available on the Android Market, but a 30-day trial version is available from the developer’s website.
No pretenses or false claims for the Car Cast Podcast Player. Its author, Bob Herrmann, wrote it initially for his own use, specifically for use while commuting. And, it’s awesome, for three reasons: it’s simple, it works perfectly, and its source is available for scrutiny or modification. Very generous man, this Bob Herrmann, for creating an easy-to-use podcatcher and player. The app’s big buttons and large text also make it charming for those who may want to use the app while driving or those who have trouble reading small text. Car Cast Podcast Player is 100% free but may have several bugs and kinks for being bleeding-edge. You can get the more stable pro version for USD$3.00, which usually comes a couple of weeks behind the free version–bug-squashing needs time, after all. But, still, be careful when using your phone while driving.
Public reaction to the Google Listen app has been mixed. On the one hand, it is one of the most installed podcatching apps, with installations reaching 5 million worldwide. On the other hand, many users also decry it for being too slow with updates and for having a lot of gaps, jagged edges, and loose threads. Where it works, Google Listen, however, works quite well. Perhaps, its most shining feature is its smooth subscriptions management, which integrates with Google Reader. Apart from basic podcatching, you can also instruct Google Listen to work graveyard shifts and download your podcasts at night while you are asleep, or to download your feeds only when your Android device is within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. No harm trying this one out. It’s free, ain’t it?
Also check out Android Authority’s reviews of some of the best apps for Android:
As a matter of fact, we have a whole section screaming all about Android Apps. Go check it out. Don’t drown in the apps, okay?