As a certified podcast addict, I’ve been on a search for the best podcast managing app I can find on the Android app market. I asked people what they recommended, did some research and personally tested every one of these apps on my Motorola Droid X.
To be honest, not all of them are so great, but some definitely stood out more than others. Let’s start with the weakest of the bunch, number 5.
Listen features a streamlined, minimalist interface that relies on Google Reader to manage your feeds. This can be a problem if you don’t like having a bunch of podcasts showing up in your news reader. The player, however, is the real problem. It’s broken to the point where attempting to fast forward, rewind or jump to a specific time in a podcast crashes the app. Avoid this one.
Stitcher isn’t so much a podcast manager as it is a streaming audio news service that relies on podcast feeds to work. As such, it only does streaming, so if you don’t have unlimited bandwidth through your wireless carrier, this might not be a viable option for you.
Another minor annoyance is that you must set up an account with Stitcher to use it. Most annoying of all, however, is that if Stitcher doesn’t have your favorite podcast, you have to request it. It gets added rather quickly, but it’s still annoying to have to go through a third party. Also, you can’t listen to older podcasts, only the latest one in each feed. This one could be a lot better.
BeyondPod, like the next two managers, works great. It comes with a 7 day free trial, so you won’t have to shell out $6.99 just to try it. However, I wasn’t fond of the interface, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to filter text entries out of the podcast feed.
The player interface is far from the best looking on the market, but it does offer the ability to fast forward or rewind at different intervals without going through a menu. The overall interface is slightly less awkward than BeyondPod, but could use a bit of polish. All in all, you get 30 days to decide if you want to keep it.
Functionally, there may not be a very big difference between DoggCatcher and the last two managers on this list, but it comes with a few nice extras that make using it more convenient. What’s more, unlike BeyondPod, it doesn’t seem intent on ramming text-based news items down your throat. There are convenient buttons that allow you to see just audio, just video, just news or set up a custom filter.
However, note that DoggCatcher requires an SD card for HTC Incredible and is not compatible with LG Ally. Also, there’s no free trial, so you’ll have fork over some cash just to see how well it works. Even so, after using the others, I’m convinced that DoggCatcher is the absolute best on this list.
In conclusion, a few weeks ago, I would have balked at the idea of paying for a podcast manager. I admit, I’ve been spoiled by what’s available on the desktop. On an Android phone, however, things are much different. If you don’t want to pay for a manager, you can either have an app that manages your files but doesn’t work, an app that only streams the latest podcast or do it yourself by hand, dragging and dropping audio files onto an SD card then deleting them later. That’s not much of a choice. At least some of the paid apps come with a free trial.
My choice came down to what I prefer based on looks, ease of use and minimum requirements. For my money, DoggCatcher is where it’s at.