The one thing I’ve always detested when it came to using my mobile devices like my iPad, my iPod Touch or my iPhone (or any “smart device” for that matter) was that you needed to “link” it to your desktop. If you think about it, behavior like that is something you might expect from a Palm Pre (or Apple Newton for that matter) But having a device with 7 antennae (antenna’s ?) require a serial connection to get stuff moved over to it .. It’s too 90’s for me.
I have spent considerable time in bypassing this crippled way of working by writing up special scripts , ssh connections and cronjobs to “ditch the cable”, but I continued to start out from the assumption that the desktop needs to acquire the data (podcasts, music, etc). But what if we let go of that paradigm altogether ?
Enter the mobile podcatching client. On IOS devices creating an application for this purpose has long been considered blasphemous : It “Duplicated” functionality that was native to iTunes. I am unaware what prescription of brain numbing meds the person that made that statement but for the longest time there was no “podcatcher” on IOS.
Luckily that has changed with “Downcast” : A full fledged podcatcher that has all the bells and whistles a stand alone application like this requires. Its very easy to search for podcasts or subscribe to them manually. You can set the number of episodes to keep and to delete. You can choose what to download , when to download it (over what connection) Thanks to location based services WHERE to download your stuff. While playing back audio en video podcasts you can choose the speed, pick up where you left of and tweet what you are listening to. The best thing is you can control all of these settings on a general or per-show basis. For the hilarious amount of 2 dollars you get a good working iPhone/iPod version AND the decent iPad version of the application. Downcast was surely built by people who knew exactly what a mobile podcast-consumer needs to keep him happy.
On the Android side of the pond “Doggcatcher” comes in at a slightly higher price point of 5 dollars but it offers almost the same magic as downcast. One of the added advantages of Doggcatcher is that you can create “Internal” podcast feeds. Mark a couple of files on your SD card into Doggcather and it will treat them as an external source of content. This is VERY handy if you want to listen to an audiobook you downloaded elsewhere and have it play nicely in your podcatchers interface, giving you a nice view what chapters you listened to and which ones you need to get to.
Both applications have, for me, severed the last ties between my iPhone to iTunes and have given extra independance to my Nexus tablet, letting their technolgy “work for me”.
Links : Doggcatcher. Downcast.
Cross platform compatibility : Ios – Android.