Sunday, August 12, 2012

Replacing Google Listen

The other day Google announced they would discontinue Google Listen (my favorite podcast fetcher and player for Android until now):

We launched Google Listen through Google Labs in August 2009, to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. However, with Google Play, people now have access to a wider variety of podcast apps, so we’ve discontinued Listen. People who have already installed the app can still use it, but after November 1, podcast search won’t function. You can access your podcast subscriptions in Google Reader in the “Listen Subscriptions” folder and download them from the Import/Export tab.
So I finally did some research for a good podcast player for Android; my criteria were:
  • use or at least import my current podcast feeds from Google Reader
  • an option to restrict episode download on Wifi only
  • an option to restrict episode download only when charging (not too critical, though)
  • easily accessible controls for play/pause and skip
  • good control over the order the episodes play (playlist)
  • good UI
I found all this in ... drumroll ... BeyondPod.

What I really like is the smart play list, where you can configure BeyondPod to e.g. take all episodes from category x from oldest to newest first, and the all other episodes from category y. I use this to start with all the short 2-5 minutes episodes from e.g. FM4 or OE1 (both from Austrian public radio), followed by the longer ones, e.g. Tech News Today, or In Beta.[1].

The concept of categories makes it easier to configure update frequency, order in which to play episodes, etc etc. Really nice set of settings there.

BeyondPod comes as a free trial version, with all features enabled for the first 7 days. After that, you either continue using the free version - what they call "Lite" - with a limited feature set:
When using the Lite version, you can still add feeds, update, download and play your podcasts. The main limitation is that in order to get the latest episodes, you have to manualy refresh each of your feeds using the circular "Refresh" button located in the top right corner the Feed Content View.
This is too "Lite" for me, so I purchased the BeyondPod Unlock Key from the Google Play store for €5.51/$6.99 so I can continue to use the full version. Still worth the money.

I moved to BeyondPod about a week ago and I'm glad I did.

btw: you can find a review of BeyondPod All About Android episode #5 (minute 38:20)

[1] other weekly podcasts like TWiT, or TWiG, or AAA I still listen to on my iPod nano

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