For those of us who need like to listen to our podcasts on the go, nothing is more convenient than having an app that automatically uploads our favourite casts directly to our phones. Of course when you go looking for such an app you, will realize that there are tons of options, from the low end free applications that simply loads the mp3 audio files to our android devices to rather pricy ones that do all that and more. Beyondpod falls into the latter category.
BeyondPod is a full featured RSS agitator and podcast navigation app. It allows you to automatically update feeds and download new audio and video podcasts, and keeps them organized for easy navigation. It also comes with a widget, and a playlist feature, so you can keep your podcasts easily organized. It also connects with Google reader, so you can keep taps on what you have read between your PC and your android Device. Obviously there are things that Beyondpodcast can?t do, but what it does, do it does quite well.
The first thing you notice when booting up Beyondpod is how easy it is to use. The screen is divided into catagories where you can easily navigate to the podcast you need rather easily. On the top of the screen are navigation buttons, so you can switch views to get at your podcasts and RSS feeds in easier ways. You can also swipe left or right to go to these various screens. With these screens you can see the catagories you?ve set up. All the feeds with album art, all the downloaded files, and the now playing screen. However of all the screens, most of the use comes from the second screen, which easily allows you to select feeds, and see all the feeds you are currently subscribed to.
The menu button opens up the functions of the app. There are options to add new feeds, play a feed, update all your feeds right now, the playlist, and various other functions. Adding feeds is rather easy. You can search for a feed on Beyodpod?s search engine, you can add from your google reader account, or you can manually enter a url. Either way, its rather painless and easy to understand.
The interface itself is simple to Navigate, and there is virtually no learning curve to do what you need to do. My only real complaint is that it doesn?t look like a seven dollar app. The screens look like vanilla android screens. The developer spent no time in giving Beyond Pod a customized look. Which I suppose makes it meld with the operating system, but I wish a little love went to the aesthetics of the app.
I've used a few different Podcast apps on Android. And what sets Beyondpod on its own is the feature set it boasts. Its largest selling point is the ability to watch video podcasts, though you can?t watch just any video podcast, its limited to what video files your device can play. It is a bit of a heartache wanting to watch a webcast and finding out you can?t play it. But having that feature means there are many webcasts you can watch.
Beyondpod also allows you to read RSS feeds, which is nice to keep up with your news. It seamlessly works with the browser as well to allow you to easy see the web version of your RSS files.
As I've mentioned already, BeyondPod also works with Google Reader, which is its strongest feature. It allows you to pick and choose feeds from your account, and you like to remember which feeds you?ve read, listened to, or watched on your PC Beyondpod can find out from reader. This also makes it easier to add feeds, as you can find cool casts on your computer and just port them over to your phone by using reader.
Though Beyondpod does have its own native video player, it gives you the option to use an external one, which is recommended, as the native player really isn?t that great when your use to using Merdian and the like.
BeyondPod also boasts an auto playlist, which will fill a playlist based on elements you add. However I?ve found this feature to be flakey and never worked right for me. I tend to just manually create playlists. And playlists in Beyond pod are quite convenient, if you don?t want to keep going back to the main app, and instead like to use the player widget the app has.
The app tends to perform a bit slow when its starting up. On my Dream/G1 it can sometimes take forty five seconds for the feeds to all populate. Also if you?re out of signal range the app will not load up, instead it will just stare at you with a blank screen. However once it gets going it tends to run as quick as any other app on your phone. That is unless you?re playing a feed and trying to navigate at the same time, but I feel this might have more to do with the lack of memory in the Dream I use. However in the three months I?ve been using the app I?ve only experienced one force close.
BeyondPod is not a perfect app by any means. But out of all the podcast apps I?ve used from Market, it s the one that remains on my phone. There are a few things it does wrong, which are mostly performance and aesthetic issues, but what it does right, it does very well. If you?re looking for a Podcast app that will give you everything you need and then deliver it in a very easy and intuitive interface, you can?t go wrong with Beyondpod. The 6.99USD might seem a little steep when, you have Listen on the Market for free. But Beyondpod does much more, than deliver a simple interface and uploader function. Its also a very stable app, and adds features that every podcast app should include.