As we all enjoy listening to CB podcasts, there are quite a few applications in BlackBerry world to choose from. Finding the right one that leverages the best of BlackBerry 10 all while presenting users with a clean, intuitive interface is not an easy task.
Recently, bPod - Podcast Manager was brought to my attention. This Built for BlackBerry application hits the mark in terms of offering a pleasant listening experience because of the simple user interface that makes subscribing, finding, and listening to podcasts effortless.
Going back to the BBOS days, listening to podcasts was rather clunky and unfriendly. This is certainly not the case with bPod. As a matter of fact, the developer implemented several suggestions regarding the look and feel of the application from feedback received. The main screen displays a view of current channels with icons for subscribing or finding new ones. There is also a page to update existing podcasts or to view active downloads.
An important part of the experience is that listening should be easy and convenient to the user. While it may take a bit to get used to in terms of navigation, once you go through the different menus and screens you will see how easy it is to learn.
The process for searching for your favorite podcasts within the application is not difficult at all. If you have the full address or link to the RSS feed, you can simply copy and paste into the appropriate field. The search tab utilizes gPodder.net, a recent addition to the application, so all that is required is entering in your search term. There is also a tab to browse through the Top 10, 50, or 100 podcasts available from the catalog. To subscribe, tap on the desired podcast or by using the URL and it will do the rest. The feed, with image, now appears under the channels section.
Next on our list is that this handy application gives you some decent settings and controls such as how content is downloaded, where it is downloaded to, play controls, playlist settings, and backup/restore options. For instance, to save data, users can select to only download via WiFi or to automatically download new episodes. There are additional controls including auto delete after listening, prompt to resume on start-up, or schedule an update to a podcast at a specific time.
Now, you may ask, how does it perform when downloading or listening to subscribed content or episodes? The answer is a simple one. Once you are subscribed to a channel, simply tap on the icon to view the available episodes. A quick tap instantly downloads, unless restricted to WiFi only in settings. Tapping and holding on an episode brings up the context menu where users can update the feed, fetch information on the selected episode, add to playlist, mark listened to, share, download all, select episodes or delete the file stored on the device or memory card.
Description of individual episodes
Native video support
Clean, easy to use interface
Add bookmarks to podcasts
Would like an option to set podcast limits (i.e. Save only last five episodes) rather than deleting after a set time
Application is not headless, though is on the list
The Bottom Line
Overall, bPod offers a simplistic experience to manage all of your feeds. While it may not have the smooth UI of Nobex, performance is stable, comes with a variety of settings, and is packed with features that BlackBerry users will most certainly appreciate. One thing that must be pointed out is how often the developer incorporates suggestions and is updates the application to make a better product. bPod comes with a price tag of $.99 and, for all of the capabilities included, is certainly worth it.
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