I’m behind the wheel just about two hours a day as part of my daily commute. It’s a pain, but I’ve done worse. There’s a point where music becomes boring. It just becomes background noise, and isn’t really much to keep you engaged, or even awake, as you’re driving. Because of this, I’ve become a huge fan of podcasts.
I’ve listened to podcasts for years. I discovered them on my old iPod touch. Yes, I had an iPod. I actually had many of them over the years. The old classic with it’s wheel which I would update my podcasts nightly by attaching it to my computer and iTunes, and later, a few iPod touches. In fact, it was podcasts that kept me under Apple’s thumb, long after I had stopped caring about the little games that I was originally excited about on my first touch. Of course, I had my BlackBerry, but there just wasn’t a very user friendly way to download and listen to podcasts on the old phones. That changed with my Torch 9810, and I said goodbye to my last iPod and have been Apple free since then.
With BlackBerry 10, there are several good options for listening to podcasts. For those that like to stream content, there are several native apps to do just that. I don’t stream. I listen to a lot of content, and I’d prefer not to have it cut in to my data, so I download to my ample storage and listen at my leisure.
I want to run through three of the most current apps that I’ve tried, and my pick of the bunch.
gPodder is simple. Extremely simple. Really, too simple. It has an attractive interface, if you like purple. If you’re like me and listen to podcasts while on the road, it is very easy to see on the screen without having to take your eyes off the road for long, however, there are better options for drive time listening.
gPodder is by far the most basic of the players I’m speaking about here. The list of settings are… well… really, there are no settings. You have options to add new podcasts, check for new episodes, and filter episodes. There is no option to automatically download, and it won’t tell you if there are new episodes.
It’s not a bad app. It does what it is supposed to. Unfortunately, I expect more from a podcast app.
I have used Nobex longer than any other podcast app. To me, this is the granddaddy of podcast apps. It’s a free, native app that has achieved Built for BlackBerry status.
Nobex truly is a great app, which allows you to listen to radio stations (I’ve never done this), stream or download podcasts. Searching for podcasts is quick, easy and painless. If a podcast you listen to isn’t listed in their library, you can easily submit it through the app by rss feed.
Nobex will alert you when a new podcast episode that you’ve subscribed to is made available, although I have had trouble with this feature recently. And you can set the app to automatically download new episodes when they are available, limiting it to only those times that you are on WiFi, or you can use your data package. Your choice.
Nobex is a great app, that does everything a podcast app should do, and except for sometimes not alerting for new episodes, does as promised. For someone looking to discover new podcasts, I’d surely recommend Nobex as they seem to have the best catalogue of podcasts that I’ve ran across.
bPod was one of the first podcast apps I downloaded some time ago on BB10, which was quickly replaced by Nobex. Sometime between then and now, something happened. bPod went from an workable podcast app, to my favorite podcast app. It is now much more user friendly than I remember, and has a few specific things which I really appreciate, and which has placed it as my top pick for podcast apps, on any platform.
bPod does everything you’d expect a podcast app to do, and has the same options Nobex does as far as alerting you to new episodes that you’ve subscribed to, automatically downloading, and letting you choose if you want to use your date or WiFi to do so. The only thing I think Nobex is easier for, is finding new podcasts. bPod uses the gpodder.net library, not to be confused with the gPod app above (although, gPod does use the same library). This catalogue seems to be missing a few podcasts when compared to Nobex’s catalogue. Notably missing, is the UTB podcasts. While there is no simple way to submit podcasts for inclusion like with Nobex, you can easily subscribe to any podcasts by simply pasting their RSS feed in to the app.
bPod costs 99 cents, whereas Nobex is free, why would I pay for an app, when there’s a free one that works perfectly fine? For one set of features that I haven’t had, or at least haven’t discovered, on any other app.
Like I said before, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I listen to them while driving. It can become a real pain when cruising down the highway and you reach the end of a podcast. You really shouldn’t be fumbling with your phone, flipping though your subscriptions looking for one that has an unlistened episode. bPod fixes this.
Within setting, you have the option to add downloaded episodes to playlist. There is also a setting to delete episodes after listening. These two options, combined with automatically downloading new episodes in the background when I’m on WiFi, have made bPod irreplaceable to me. After choosing which podcasts to subscribe to, bPod downloads episodes when they become available and places them in a playlist. When I open bPod, it asks if I wish to start up where I left off the last time I stopped listening. When I reach the end of a podcast, it is deleted, and bPod starts playing the next episode. Unlike the days of my old iPod, when I had to micro-manage every aspect of podcasts, bPod makes it to where I have to do nothing, but enjoy.
Of course, I can’t write about podcasts without speaking about our own. If you’re a podcast listener, be sure to subscribe to our UTB podcasts. We’re easy enough to find in Nobex, however, to subscribe in other podcast apps, you may need the rss feed, included below.
Do you listen to podcasts? Any favorites you’d like to share? Or other apps that you think are better than the ones listed above? Let us know in the comments.