September 15, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Podcasts are a great way to listen to and keep up with the news, entertainment, and commentary floating through the world. I’ve recently been going without my MP3 player, so it’s become necessary for me to make my Android device subscribe to podcasts. There are a number of ways to subscribe to podcasts on an Android device. The easiest and most hassle-free is to use apps like BeyondPod, DoggCatcher, FeedR, Greed, Listen or even iTunes. Here are a few tutorials for beginners looking to bring podcasts on the go.
Some podcasts stop playing when you navigate away from the player. There’s a simple workaround for this problem: When a downloaded podcast is playing, press the Menu button and then “Add to Playlist.” Create a new playlist called “Podcasts.” Now, open your Music app and load the “Podcasts” playlist. Voila.
1. Sync Android with iTunes (FREE)
PC owners who already use iTunes to download podcasts can bypass Android apps and load podcasts with the help of iTunes Agent and a Smart Playlist. The downside is that you have to connect to a computer to update your podcasts, but this is a good solution for current iTunes users.
- Open iTunes and select “File > New Smart Playlist”
- From the drop-down menu, select “Podcast” and “is true”
- Press the “+” sign to create another rule.
- From the drop-down menu, select “Date Added” and “is in the last” to make sure only recent podcasts are synced. Choose the number based on however many days you wish and press “Ok”
- Name your new playlist
- Download and install iTunes Agent
- Follow the simple set-up instructions found here
* In the “Music Folder” field, create a new folder named “Podcasts” on your SD card
* In the “Associate with playlist” field, select the Smart Playlist you created in iTunes
To play on the G1, open your media player of choice and launch the Playlist you created. Every time you update your iTunes library and sync the device, the playlist will automatically update as well.
2. FeedR News Reader (99 cents USD)
FeedR News Reader is a paid application that manages RSS feeds and podcasts that can automatically update and search for feeds and podcasts within the app. FeedR can stream podcasts from the web or download to make it easier to listen to podcast.
- Locate a podcast that you wish to subscribe to and copy its URL
- Press a feed item to see its description. Press the “Play” button to stream the podcast or long press on the filename to download it.
- Check the download progress in the notification button to launch the podcast.
3. DoggCatcher ($7.99 USD) [Really Good]
DoggCatcher is the Granddaddy of Them All when it comes to listening to podcasts on Android. Find great podcasts with the search feature, recommendation feature, import OPML, and browse the top feeds of other DoggCatcher users. The app also offers automatic updates and backup/restoration of a database. The price tag will probably scare away some, but Doggcatcher is a great app to nab for the hardcore podcast user.
- Press Menu > Add Feed
- Choose between Recommendations, Top Feeds, Popular Feeds, Search, or Import.
- Tap a feed to add it to your directory.
- To download a podcast episode, tap once and long-press to stream
Google’s Listen is more than just a podcast tool. In addition to subscribing to feeds, it can also search the web for non-podcast audio (a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for). It’s easy to use and easier to listen to. Listen can play in the background during both streaming and downloading.
- Open Listen and click Search
- Enter the topic or name of a show you’re looking for
- Search through the results and press the “Subscribe” button in the top right corner
- Download episodes by pressing “Add to queue” or stream episodes by pressing “Listen Now”
5. Greed Full ($2.99 USD)
Greed and NewsRob sync with Google Reader, so accessing podcasts is easy to do on either. Users can simply subscribe to the podcasts in Google Reader and access them on an Android device with Greed. You can also add online by subscribing in Google Reader. For better organization, create folders for podcasts or even by topic.
- Locate a feed address (URL) for your desired podcast
- Open Google Reader and click on the “Add a subscription” button in the top left
- Enter the feed address and press “Ok”
- After entering all feed addresses, create a folder for your podcasts by clicking “Manage Subscriptions”
- Select the feeds that you wish to group by checking the boxes next to each name.
- On the last selected feed, press the “Change Folder” button and choose “New Folder”
- Enter the name of your new folder (i.e. “Podcasts”) and save. The Google subscription part is now complete.
- Launch Greed and press Folders > Podcasts and select a podcast episode
- Tap the paper clip icon that appears when the screen is touched. Long-press the Attachment title and tap “Download”
6. BeyondPod Podcast Manager ($6.99 USD for full version)
BeyondPod is an RSS/podcatcher that supports background playing of downloaded Podcasts and automatic downloading. The app comes with easy access to some popular podcast sources like the BBC, NPR, and a “Top Ranked” feature for various interests. Opening the app and browsing the “Podcasts and Feeds” directory will be enough to load those well-known podcasts. To add more feeds, follow these steps:
- Press the Menu button and then “Add Feed”
- Enter the feed URL and press “Go.” If you store podcasts in Google Reader, you can “Import from Google Reader” or “Load from OMPL.”
- Enter a name for your feed your download preferences. Leave “Podcast Download Folder” blank so it will store downloads to the SD Card. Then press “Save.”
- Press the back button and scroll down to your desired podcast. Press the “Download” or “Stream” links and you’re ready to go.