We have featured Shifty Jelly apps on Ausdroid before, with our review of their Pocket Weather AU app. This time around we review the Podcast player, Pocket Casts. Let’s get started.

    Pros…

  • Easy to use
  • Download or Streaming options
  • Great playback options
  • No need for PC/Mac software
  • Cons…

  • No widget support – yet
  • Small issues regarding to playback and calling


When this app came across my desk, I won’t lie, I was excited. I’m a massive fan of Podcasts and Podcasting, hence now having our own Ausdroid Podcast. Since coming from an iPhone, where setting up Podcasts and syncing them with your handset is a relatively simple task with iTunes, I haven’t been able to find a nice simple way of doing the same within Android. DoubleTwist didn’t give me the best experience, and using apps like Beyond and the like, took a bit of setting up and the added time taken to input your feeds for them to operate to a desireable effect.

Along comes Pocket Casts, with its main draw card being that you dont need to setup feeds or really configure it in any sort of way. You install it and search for your favourite Podcast/s and add them to your list. You can also browse through the popular Podcasts and also select from there. Once added to your Home Screen, which you can set in the settings to display a pre determind number of episode from your select Podcast, you are given two options, Stream or Download. A great featue of this is, if you decide to stream then download, when you play the start playing the Podcast again, it starts from where your streaming version stopped. That’s a great and handy feature.

Onto the player side of things. The player very much reminds me of the iPod app in the iPhone. It looks and works beautifully, scrubbing works like a dream, touching the left side of the album art on the player, scrubs back 10 secs and touching the right side of the art scrubs forward 30 secs. As well as having the standard Rewind, Stop, Play, Pause, Fast Forward, it’s got the standard volume slide and also running time slider. Simple design, easy to use, just very nice layout, if not a little Apple.

 

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As much as I do like this app, there have been issues. All the issues I experienced related to playback or doing things during playback. First issue I encountered was, when unplugging the headset from the phone, while a Podcast was still playing, the audio would continue to play, but be routed through the loudspeaker. The normal behavior would be for the player to automatically pause the playing Podcast, until I selected it to play again. This however, didn’t seem to happen. Since having this issue I have spoken to Russell at Shift Jelly a number of times, concerning this particular issue and as of a few days ago, it has been fixed.

The next issue relates to making a call while listening to a podcast. If you are currently listening to a Podcast and then go and make a call, what should happen is, the player pauses the audio until the call is finished and then starts playing it again, this is not the case, it just does not happen. You have to pause the Podcast first and make your call and then un-pause when the call is finished. However the issue does not happen if you receive a call while playing the Podcast, the player does automatically pauses the playing audio and un-pauses once the call is finished. My last issue, comes in the form of a widget, or lack there of. Again, I have been speaking to Russell and he informs me a widget is definitely in the works and coming, I’ve even had the privilege of seeing what it looks like, and I can say it looks awesome and I can’t wait. An ETA is still not confirmed for the widget update but Shift Jelly are hoping for weeks not months. That’s good news, as it’s definitely missing a widget, which in my opinion, is crucial.

All in all, even with these small issues, it’s still a killer app. It’s my Podcast app of choice, it keeps things organised and let’s me know when there are new episodes of my favourites shows available. If they can find the solutions to the calling issue and push that widget out ASAP, it would have to almost be the best podcast app on Android. At $2.70 it’s a steal and the guys at Shifty Jelly are just the bomb. So if your after an awesome Podcast specific app, look no further.

  • http://twitter.com/prymal81 PryMaL

    Widget is now functioning and I’m rid of iTunes from my life!
    The playback issues have been solved too.

  • [MuffinMan]

    Any chance of you guys reviewing firefox’s mobile browser? Just a thought.

  • http://twitter.com/the_tony the_tony

    I’ve used listen ever since I got my HTC Desire and once I had it set up right I haven’t looked for another player.
    What I like about Listen is that I can place the podcasts in a queue and it plays them in order (usually in oldest date order). If this can do it, then I’d be tempted to switch over.
    Also, is there a setting to only download podcasts via WiFi? I don’t want to use up my data allotment for this.

  • Zathras0

    Well I have purchased this app and is one of the best for Netcasts, but it is not without it’s issues some of which not mentioned in the review.

    Let me make it clear before I list the other issues I’ve found,I believe the app is worth the fee and ShiftyJelly have already indicated they will look and work on these:

    If you start to download a netcast/podcast on WiFi and then leave the WiFi coverage to 3G, the download errors out. I then tried to re-download on 3G and those particular podcast would not download and would just error again. Other podcast worked fine.
    It does not have a landscape mode for either people with physical keyboards, like my Desire Z, tables or watching videos. Gets annoying typing in search data sideways using the keyboard.
    The notification bar stays on screen when watching video. (I need to check if the latest update has fix this).

    • http://ausdroid.net Lucas Burnett

      Thanks for the update on these issues mate. I did have the Wifi-3G issue, but when hitting the download button again, it would continue downloading with no issues. I did not try the landscape mode as I didn’t have a phone like that here, but again thank you very much for the update on issues. If you send a email to the guys at Shift Jelly, i would say they will add it to the list and have them looked at ASAP.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vidamus Sam Kearns

    Damnit! I’ve been wanting a better Podcasting app but Android Market says this app is not compatible with my phone :( (Huawei IDEOS)

  • http://twitter.com/SilentInfidel Luke Dunstan

    Can you please comment on the advantages of Pocket Casts over Google Listen? Do you think the advantages are worth $2.70?

    • http://ausdroid.net Lucas Burnett

      For me, Listen was a bit “Googlie” It wasn’t very pretty, and centered more around adding your own feeds to it. I seemed to only be able to find episodes of Podcasts rather the adding a Podcast feed and having the episodes delivered to me. Pocket Casts was simple, easy to configure and had everything I needed right from the word go.