For the uninitiated, podcasts are mini-programs broadcast over the internet. Think of them as mini talk radio programs, without the “glamour” of radio. Of course, in some ways podcasts aren’t as popular as they once were, since many podcasts require intense amounts of commitment and YouTube fashioned a whole new way to broadcast and make money. Still, for those with a “radio face,” podcasting offers a great way to get messages out. I even participated in a podcast with Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway. Their podcast, The Digital Edge, shows the dedication it takes to produce a great, long lasting program.
Unfortunately, until recently, Apple ruled the podcast on your device game. Sure, there were some less-than-adequate podcast apps for Android, but when you compared specs, Apple won.
Enter Pocket Casts ($3.99). If you’re a “mini talk radio” fan using Android, Pocket Casts is your go-to, all-devices, app.
Finding media was always one of the chief problems with other podcast apps for Android. Pocket Casts does a brilliant job of providing a fully-functioning search mechanism by giving you ways to “discover” new podcasts or simply searching for keywords.
One of my favorite Pocket Casts features is the ability to download a podcast or stream the signal. Since I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m mowing the lawn or doing other yard work, I can stream the episode through WiFi, rather than taking up space on my device. Afterward, I can download the program and take the show on the road. To enable or disable this feature go to Settings > Playback > Streaming mode.
Most of the time though, I just build up a collection of podcasts and delete all the played files (Settings > Storage > Delete played files).
I’m also a big fan of the “speedy playback” setting.
Adjusting the playback speed decreases the actual playback time. For instance, not only does 2 times speed make the on-air personality sound like one of the Chipmunks, it also cuts your listening time in half. I prefer 1.4 to 1.5 times speed. This setting makes it easy to understand the speakers, but also enables you to breeze through a discussion. Note though, variable speed playback is only available for downloaded podcasts.
Sync is the last feature I think that everyone needs to utilize. The sync setting allows you to create unity among your devices. Syncing is easy to set up (Settings > Sync) by entering an email address and password.
Voila! Your devices are connected. All of your subscriptions will appear, you can maintain your playback position, and you can easily delete data across platforms.
Pocket Casts is well worth the price and brings another way to experience media to your Android device. Overall, this apps gets 5 of 5 stars.