Podcasts on Android

This Post has first been published in February of 2014, and generally is not up to date anymore.
A revision of this post will be posted on this blog in the near future.


A bit less than one year ago, I wrote a short blogpost about the devastating situation regarding podcatchers on Android. Today I want to give an update on this topic. As you might remember, I have very high standards considering podcatchers. For those of you, who did not read the aforementioned post, I will start by repeating the criteria I have for a good, usable podcatcher.

Criteria

Critical

  • Stability - A podcatcher I want to use needs to be stable and should not crash every five minutes.
  • Usability - No lags, no heavily nested menus, no hidden functions
  • Clarity - A podcatcher needs to have a clear and simple UI.
  • OPML-Import and Export - A podcast-directory, however good it may be, I don't want to use it on a smartphone. So I want to have the possibility to import a list of podcasts in a standardized format, like OPML.
  • Adjustable Playback-Speed - I've been hearing podcasts with a higher playback-speed for some years now, so I'm used to high playback-speeds.
  • Shownotes - Shownotes need to be reachable at any time and need to be displayed properly and unshorted.
  • Full-Reloads of Podcast-Feeds - Podcast-feeds tend to be broken, therefore a method to COMPLETELY reload a feed, without deleting and re-adding the podcast to my subscribed feeds.

Nice-to-have

  • Podlove-Simple-Chapters - Chapters in podcast-files
  • Flattr-Integration
  • Podcast-Streaming
  • Sync
  • Categories for Feeds
  • Support for Paged Feeds [RFC5005]

Bonus Points

  • Open Source
  • Podlove aware
  • Interest in open standards

The Continuation

Eventhough I said, I'd cancel the experiment, I continued testing and ended up using BeyondPod for the last months. BeyondPod is not too bad to use, but it has some issues which are quite annoying. It fulfills most of my critical criteria, but fails to comply with nearly every item on my nice-to-have-list. Additionally BeyondPod isn't open source and the developer showed little interest in continuing the pursuit to open standards.

The Solution

In my previous blogpost I mentioned AntennaPod, which through a recent update manages to fulfill nearly all of my critical criteria, especially the adjustable playback-speed one. AntennaPod is Open Source Software hosted on GitHub which gives some bonus points. It has a clean, plain, simple interface with almost no nested menus and the shownotes viewer is simple and fast. The app features a flattr-integration with optional auto-flattring of heard episodes. Unfortunately the app doesn't yet support paged feeds.

What's Missing?

Since I've been using BeyondPod recently, I've been spoiled a little, so I'm missing some features BeyondPod has, in AntennaPod. First of all, what I'm missing is a list of the downloaded, already played episodes, so I have a chance to manually delete episodes I do not want to hear again, or get rid of all downloaded, played episodes at once. Secondly I've been using BeyondPod's category feature quite a bit, so I kind of miss having that possibility in AntennaPod. Thirdly, I'd love to have support for paged feeds in the app, to access complete archives of my favourite podcasts. Last but not least I should mention that AntennaPod is unfortunately missing a syncing feature at the moment. But since I only have one Android device I use, it doesn't matter too much for me.

In conclusion I want you to start up Google Play and download AntennaPod. The app is available for free on Google Play, if you like it, please flattr the developer.
Have fun and enjoy testing this great app.

Name: AntennaPod
Platform: Android
Price: Free
License: Open Source
Download: Play Store
Flattr: Flattr!
GitHub: GitHub