26
Feb
icon_PocketCasts_256x256

There are a number of popular podcast solutions on Android, but those apps are about to get some fresh competition with the release of Pocket Casts 4.0. This app has long had solid features, but it wasn't quite able get the same traction as Doggcatcher or BeyondPod. The new version might do the trick, though.

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As with the old version of Pocket Casts, this app uses server-based refreshes to keep your podcasts updated. It's faster, and it now has the added benefit of being able to sync your subscriptions, playlists, and play states across devices. The interface has been completely redesigned with a slick Holo look and feel for v4.0. Layouts for 7 and 10-inch tablets are also baked in. Playlists are beefed up as well – Smart Playlists provide for the automatic generation of playlists based on numerous criteria.

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Just for reference, here are some screens from the old interface. The difference is striking, right?

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Pocket Casts had some notable features before, but the UI was really holding it back. Now that's fixed and the unique features have been expanded upon. However, there is not yet a widget in this version. The new Pocket Casts is definitely worth a look if you dig listening to podcasts, like a certain Android-centric one? Pocket Casts can be had for $3.99 (it seems to have gone up from $2.99).

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Mitch Surprenant

    I can not tell you how excited I am for this update. Some Android bloggers (read: Phil @AC) kept speaking its praises and I got anxious. I would buy it again if I could!

  • http://twitter.com/MyL1ttlePwny Matthew Sepersky

    Best looking podcast app for Android looks even better...damn fine app and the developer is crazy fast at taking suggestions and adding new functions. Worth the purchase.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I like the update overall, but that first screenshot looks like a mess to me. Too many things going on.

    • Jeremy626

      Dude. Devs took a year for this facelift??? I think its a failure. Beyond is way better

  • dirtyid

    FINALLY. BUILT IN VARIABLE SPEED PLAYBACK.

    • http://twitter.com/TimCrothers Timothy Crothers

      No they added Presto plugin support like beyondpod and doggcatcher. Much better looking then before but beyondpod is still the best.

      • TehFoz

        They had Presto support before, they just added built in support without Presto.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robvarak Rob Varak

    Am I crazy or did this update remove the option for a widget?

    • Dean Shaw

      Yes the widget has gone:(

    • coreyf_4

      They added notification bar controls, so I assume that's supposed to take the place of the widget.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pratik-Holla/1041154510 Pratik Holla

      They might add it in a future update. When the Score app went to a new design it took them a while to add the old widget the people wanted back. Also if there are enough suggestions, the dev might add it as it is very useful as a lock screen widget running it in 4.2

    • gspida

      The widget rarely worked correctly anyway. Notification bar controls is good enough for me.

  • http://twitter.com/TonyE88 Tony E.

    Now if they can only update the one in the Amazon Appstore!

    • TehFoz

      They wont be updating it because of all the people who got it for free and were just adding strain to their servers and the 19 people who actually bought it can get a refund from them.

    • DirkBelig

      My first smartphone was a Palm Pre and there were a bunch of good and FREE podcatcher options. When I switched to Team Android, I was amazed that there were almost no free apps and those that existed were garbage, like Google Listen.

      I picked up Pocket Casts from Amazon's FAOTD and it was great, but I noticed that it never seemed to get updated. After seeing an item at Android Central about the impending v.4 Holo overhaul, I investigated why it wasn't being updated at Amazon - a situation that happened with the free Fancy Widgets I'd gotten as a FAOTD* - and found the sad blog post they put up explaining what a total screw job they received from Amazon as they gave away 101,491 copies of the app without earning a penny.

      Since I had Play store credit from my Nexus 7 purchase, I finally put my (free) money where my appreciation was and purchased Pocket Casts from the Play store a couple months ago. Not sure how I like the new layout compared to the old one where you merely had to tap the side of the screen to fast-forward or rewind; now there's a small square button.

      OTOH, you gotta love an outfit that has this in their FAQ:

      How many animals were harmed in the production of this app?

      We're glad you asked. Only seven.

      * I discovered that if you could provide your A'zon order #, they'd issue you a key for the up-to-date Google Play version. Very nice.

      • Melissa

        Same here, I had also gotten the app originally from the Amazon Appstore during the free promotion. After I heard about what had happened I quickly went and bought it from the Google Play Store to support them.

    • Melissa

      To add to what TehFoz said, Amazon did not pay them even though it said in ToS that developers that agree to being featured free app of the day will still get paid. So them and a couple of other devs took their apps off the Amazon Appstore. If you happened to be a person who bought it from there, they might be willing to refund your money still. If you did not, then go support them and buy the app from the Google Play Store.

  • http://twitter.com/GiuntaRob Roberto Giunta

    So, while I really, really LOVE the new look, there are certain things that I have to get used to:

    - No widget? I know it uses the notification actions and it has a lockscreen option (not a lockscreen 'widget') but I liked to press on the play button on the widget to start playing without going into the app.

    - No Google Reader integration. Was that such a big problem that they couldn't build it in? I had problems with it once or twice but otherwise because of organizational reasons I put every podcast I listen to into my reader because I love Google Reader like a zombie a fresh brain in the evening sun.

    - Readding podcasts: It seems that you have to readd every podcast although it's already in your list. When I go to an older podcast I already subscribed to and wanna download older ones, they simply not appear, despite changing the viewing options.

    - Not downloaded podcasts: Either I'm blind or I had to make an own Smartlist for not yet downloaded podcasts. Athough I did that, it worked like a charm

    - Adding a new podcast: If it's in the list, awesome, but do they use some kind of data base? I never touched Stitcher because I had to "send them an email" to add a podcast to their database (That's so 2005). It seems I can find all but one or two of my podcasts (in my case "Republic City Dispatch" ( http://republiccitydispatch.com/ )). What do I do then?

    I know, this is complaining on a very high level, don't get me wrong, as I said, I LOVE the new app and its look, but there are quite some things that I have to get used to.

    The biggest new feature for me: ADJUSTABLE PLAYBACK SPEED WITHOUT THAT HORRIBLE PLUGIN.

    They did an awesome work with the app :)

    • Dipish

      - Readding podcasts: It seems that you have to readd every podcast although it's already in your list. When I go to an older podcast I already subscribed to and wanna download older ones, they simply not appear, despite changing the viewing options.

      Hm the update went smooth for me - I still see all my subscriptions, with some read/unread episodes exactly as they appeared before update. And I can also access older ones if I want... you may want to write them a message explaining the issue.

      • http://twitter.com/GiuntaRob Roberto Giunta

        I could solve it by deleting the app and restoring the podcasts through sync, then all older episodes were shown again. And AFAIK they addressed it with a patch today.

  • http://tablified.com Ayman Suleiman

    Price is 3.99, not 2.99. They must have increased it at launch.

    • RyanWhitwam

      It appears they did. Interesting.

  • PCSievers

    I love:

    1.3x speed playback
    the new controls in the notification shade on JB
    the app in general

    I dont love:

    it is harder to navigate - the old layout was fine
    red and white - ugh, so bad and if themes exist I cant find them

    the lack of widget, which I wouldnt notice if nobody said, but still, weird choice
    after adding a podcast it snaps back to the top of the list

    So overall its an improvement that needs improving pretty quickly. It just feels unfinished and clunky, esp navigating around it.

    • http://emoutrocastelo.com/ Maximus Decimus

      Also, I really liked the "# Downloaded" icons, that now do not appear. More importantly, however, is that I was unable to find how to see previously listened episodes, for listening again played episodes

      • PCSievers

        There is a settings option when viewing one of the podcasts to toggle the app to show played or old episodes. To view downloaded click the top left button or swipe in from the left edge to open the playlist drawer.

  • Jeremy626

    How is this better than BEYONDPOD... its not. It just looks better.
    This is for newbs and casual people.. If youre a podcast fanatic,
    GET BEYONDPOD. This app sucks. Regret paying. Trust me.

    • Stylus_XL

      ^Your post perfectly displays the combination of poor judgement, misinformation and unfounded arrogance typical of those very "special" people in our society.

  • Dipish

    So far the best app update of 2013!!!

  • Brian T

    I have been using this app for about a year and its been good, nice to see them working so hard on improving it

  • youareme7

    Does anyone know of a podcaster that normalizes audio? I have a few sources I listen to and the audio is vastly different

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    does it have tasker/local integration?

  • Paul Leatherbee

    I have always recommended PocketCasts to anyone I know switching from an iPhone, and now with all of the changes for the better, this is essentially the No-Brainer best Podcast app out there right? This is exactly what I like to see from Developers...well done ShiftyJelly

  • Matthew Fry

    Used PodKicker before, now using AntennaPod which looks nice but is underfeatured and is not getting much traction. Maybe I'll switch.

    Ok. The What's New may have just sealed the deal:

    Welcome to our first ever 'What's not new' log:
    - The app name is still the same
    - We're still the same people…though we haven't got the results from the DNA tests yet
    - It still plays podcasts, I know, right?
    - It's still awesome, only more awesome, so like awesomer or awesomest…
    - Check out the FAQ if you get super lost, otherwise PAAAAARTAAAAAAAAAY

  • Abe Lincoln

    Has anyone else noticed a strange background color on the AP podcast's cover art? In the Popular list there's a black bg around the centered logo which is fine, barely notice it. Once I subscribe and add to my Podcasts list there's a weird purple bg, and opening up the episodes list I see either a green, red, or orange bg around the logo. It's just an aesthetic issue but I haven't noticed any other cover art with this problem.

  • Melissa

    So glad they were able to get this new version out with a much needed UI change, I was getting sick of it being ios esque and was glad when I emailed them about it that they were already working on a new UI. Sure it's kind of rough still, but it should get better with subsequent updates.

  • 11222

    purchased last night. would not download casts for offline listening. wrote developer this morning he said there was an update. updated still no downloads. wrote again & no response. it even says in the “whats new” section that there have been downloads issues. good UI, but if a podcast app does not download podcasts, it’s like having a browser that can not execute google searches. very recent new design, so the high ratings refers to previous version. newer reviews are also negative. i called google play and got a refund.

    this is a pre-bata app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.forrestal Kevin Forrestal

    Running on 4.0, Download gets hung-up and will not stop. I have to force stop the app and then I am able to play the podcast. I did't have the problem with the previous version.

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