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.
- Easy to use
- Download or Streaming options
- Great playback options
- No need for PC/Mac software
- 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.
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.