Podcatchers for Smartphones


Summary

Grab Downcast and plug in the IT Conversations feed URL and enjoy great tech talks from the longest running podcast on the planet...no matter where you're at.

IT Conversations Logo

As you might guess, given that I'm Executive Producer of IT Conversations, I like listening to podcasts. I'm also an iPhone user. Not to put too fine a point on it: iTunes sucks rocks for listening to podcasts. The problem is mostly that iTunes has a crappy interface for subscribing to and managing podcasts. It also downloads only one episode per day, with no way to change the defaults. Moreover it will stop downloading podcasts that you haven't listened to for a while and you have to remember to go in an start it up. I started feeling like I had to "take care of iTunes" like it was a recalcitrant pet or something.

For some reason, it never really occurred to me to download an app for listening to podcasts, although I've downloaded several single purpose ones (like the This American Life app). Then Paul Figgiani introduced me to Downcast. I'm in love. I no longer have to fight iTunes and all my favorites are right there waiting for me to listen to them when I go for a walk or drive to work. The interface is good, with plenty of controls for skipping forward and back or adjusting the playback speed. I also like the built-in "share" features although I wish they allowed me to customize the default text for the share.

Unfortunately, Downcast isn't available on Android. I have an Android tablet (Galaxy Tab) that I've used Google Listen on. It's a functional podcatcher, albeit a little bare-boned compared to Downcast: no speed or skipping controls and no built-in sharing.

So, go grab Downcast, plug in the IT Conversations feed URL and enjoy great tech talks from the longest running podcast on the planet...no matter where you're at.