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.
MyPOD Podcast Manager Free is for podcast addicts, particularly those with very strict podcatching standards typical of power users. This app is not for the faint of heart because, being feature-filled (yes, the list is quite long), mastering its use can take some significant amount of time. Extensive documentation is available, though, and the investment in learning will be well worth it. MyPOD Podcast Manager Free sets you free from the shackles of desktop or cloud-based syncing–it’s just you, your phone, and your podcasts. One of its distinctive features is remote management, which allows you to control your Android device using your PC. For managing up to 10 feeds, you’ll be fine with this free version. Otherwise, buy the unlocking key to allow the app unlimited feeds.
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.
DoggCatcher has a loud bark and a corresponding big bite. (Other catchers are only loud on the bark, but soft on the bite.) It is a well-designed and well-implemented podcatcher app that does the basics excellently, and more. Podcast and feed discovery won’t require you to be Sherlock Holmes. Receive recommendations of new podcasts based on your existing subscriptions. Categorize your feeds and be your own podcast librarian. DoggCatcher is pod-literate–it supports the RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom, and OPML protocols. DoggCatcher development is as active as its user community, too. The developers frequently update the app code to make it more stable, support more devices, or add new features. They released updates more than 30 times last year, they said. This means that, even if DoggCatcher doesn’t have a free version on the Android Market, those who buy it for USD$7.00 can sleep soundly at night knowing that they are safe behind a a team of active developers and a supportive user community. Not a bad doggy, this one.
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.
The “A” in ACast stands for A-quality podcast management. The ACast app is a very simple app, with an intuitive and easy interface for playing podcasts and gathering news. The simplicity of its interface is two-faced: to some it is beautiful, to others (e.g., the more demanding ones) it is ugly. But, easy to use, nonetheless, and that’s what matters for most people. ACast allows you to experiment with the playback speed of your podcasts, works flawlessly with Google Reader, and has search functions with advanced filtering. You can tell ACast to download your podcasts according to your preferred schedule, too. Unlike some podcatching apps, this one has widgets–and ads! The latter you can get rid of by purchasing an unlock key for USD$4.00 from the Android Market. With or without ads, ACast is one of many Android users’ favorite podcast apps.
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.
PodKast is a great app (and it’s also free) for those who watch or listen regularly to podcasts. Its user interface looks like the app is busy working on a lot of things all at the same time, but there’s no room for confusion here, as it uses tabs to organize its features. One great thing about PodKast is its ability for continuous listening even if you navigate to other screens. The player just docks away at the bottom. You can search for podcasts, view top charts for podcasts, mark your favorite podcasts, rate your favorite podcasts, and download your podcasts to your phone.
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?
Among the many multimedia twists and twirls that doubleTwist Player can perform on your Android device, playing podcasts is just one of them. Hailed by many of its users as the best all-in-one multimedia app on the Android Market, doubleTwist Player can play audio, video, and radio on your Android phone. It lets you synchronize your iTunes playlists and podcasts, with the ratings and play counts also carried over to your Android device when you import from iTunes. The free version will suffice for most users, but if you are a big fan of album artwork, you can upgrade within the app so that you can query Gracenote’s library for your songs’ artwork.
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?
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This is an EPIC list! Wow I didn’t realize there’s so many lol! I’m an uberpoweruzer control freak so i’m gonna hit up that Podcast Manager one.
I used to use Listen near religiously, but have lately switched to GoodNews for both RSS reading and podcast listening.
What about PodKicker?
YES!!! Podkicker does it right.
Agreed!!! PodKicker is the best free podcast app I have found!
I found new android podcast player – uPods. It is cheeper then beyond and have normal interface. It also works with tablet. Im too tired form beyond crashes on my Nexus 7.
try jellypod. one of android podcast player.