One of Android Wear 2.0‘s marquee features is the introduction of standalone apps. The feature lets you bypass the need for your phone to send data to your smartwatch apps and, instead, allow Android Wear apps to function on their own. One such app is Wear Casts, a recently-released Android Wear app that stands as the first standalone podcast app.
In terms of features, Wear Casts remembers the last played position for each of your podcasts, notifies you when a new episode is available, and automatically creates playlists for downloaded and in-progress podcasts. The app also responds to external audio controls and lets you manage when you want the app to sync.
Interestingly, Wear Casts brings with it a phone companion app, but it is only used to add podcasts to your Android Wear smartwatch and if you want to use it as a backup player. Even better, you can stream and download episodes from your watch, if you so choose.
Overall, Wear Casts is a no-frills podcasts app for Android Wear that looks to bypass your smartphone as much as possible. I’m sure the developer will continue to optimize the app and add more features in future updates.
To that end, I reached out to the developer, Reddit user GrinchPaws, who told me that there are two main features he would like to implement in future updates: more auto-playlists and support for additional external Bluetooth controls.
As it pertains to the former, Wear Casts currently has only two auto-playlists: “In Progress” and “Downloads.” Sometime in the near future, the developer hopes to add “New” and “Unplayed,” as well as custom playlists.
As for Bluetooth controls, GrinchPaws hopes to include additional controls like fast-forward, rewind, skip-forward, and skip-back. He is also looking into voice control to achieve the same functions, though that is more of a possibility than something concrete.
In addition to the features, GrinchPaws also wants to include the ability to re-order and sort podcast and episode lists, as well as fix up the UI and UX.
If there is enough here to have peaked your interest, Wear Casts is available as a free download through the Google Play Store at the link below. Keep in mind that your phone must run at least Android 6.0 Marshmallow and your watch must run at least Android Wear 2.0 for it to work.