What mobile devices can wirelessly sync podcasts?
January 29, 2010 7:56 PM   Subscribe

What mobile devices (smart phones / Itouch / etc.) can wirelessly sync podcasts?

Do they natively do it, or do they require an app, or do they require a hack?

What protocols (cellular, 802.11) do the device use?
posted by garlic to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: iPhones and iPod Touches can download new episodes of podcasts over wifi. No app or hacks are required. I haven't tried it recently, but at least in the past they couldn't sync podcasts above a certain size over 3G.
posted by jedicus at 8:04 PM on January 29, 2010

Best answer: Android based devices have Google Listen. It is free and uses any network available (3g, wifi).
posted by thewalledcity at 9:14 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Nokia N-Series and E-Series phones should be able to use the Nokia Podcasting app (it's often preinstalled).

For Symbian smartphones (including the N and E series) there's Escarpod (the page claims that only UIQ phones are supported but if you scroll down there is a release for S60 phones, which covers a lot of Nokia smartphone models).

Both apps should be able to use either WLan or 3G to download podcasts.
posted by gds at 3:14 AM on January 30, 2010

jedicus, that only seems to work if the podcast comes via iTunes. I seem to be out of luck for a plain old RSS-based podcast hosted elsewhere.
posted by scruss at 5:19 AM on January 30, 2010

I'll jump in on this question as well. I'd love an option on the iPhone to download a podcast outside of the iTunes list - and ideally have it added to the podcast list so I can listen to it from the iPhone player. I know it's a tall order, but a boy can dream, can't he?
posted by shinynewnick at 6:54 AM on January 30, 2010

RSS Player is a native iphone/itouch app that deals with podcasts outside of itunes. Basically, you import your RSS list and the app downloads the podcasts and lets you manage and play them, all without ever opening itunes.
posted by aeighty at 9:21 AM on January 30, 2010

Mobilecast is a free option if you are comfortable with jailbreaking your ipod touch and installing through cydia/icy.
posted by andendau at 11:05 AM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: I listen to podcasts on my BlackBerry through Viigo, which is an app, but it's free. I don't have an idea about protocols or what that even means (sorry!).
posted by iliketolaughalot at 4:59 PM on January 30, 2010

Will any of those options (Mobilecast or RSS Player) add the podcast to my iPod list on the iPhone? Or just let you play the podcast within the program?
posted by shinynewnick at 6:13 PM on January 30, 2010

Response by poster: So it sounds like the answer is that All current generation mobile devices (current iphone OS, android OS, symbian os, nokia, and blackberry) can wirelessly sync podcasts someway or another. Anyone's that can't?
posted by garlic at 8:30 AM on January 31, 2010

To be clear, if a podcast is listed in iTunes (and a very high percentage of them are), it is possible to download it directly to a iPhone or iPod Touch without syncing to a computer. You can do this in two ways:

1) If you're already subscribed to the podcast and have episodes on your device, a "Get More Episodes..." link will appear when you are viewing a listing of the episodes you have. Clicking on this link will take you to the iTunes store app where you can select the episodes you want to download.
2) You can go directly to the iTunes store app and download any episode of any podcast that's listed, including ones that you have not previously subscribed to.

Once you have the episodes downloaded, they will show up in the iPod app and you can listen to them as you would any other music file. The limitations to this method are (a) you have to manually specify each and every episode you want to download this way...there's no way to have it sync a list of podcast feeds automatically so it's not practical to update a large group of podcasts this way (b) any podcast episodes that are larger than 10 megabytes can only be downloaded over WiFi, not the cellar network.

Some apps listed above get around these limitations, and make it easier to download a whole slew of episodes wherever you may by, but none of them can actually add the music files to the Apple sanctioned iPod app. You're then stuck having to play the podcast files within the third-party podcast app, which would not be so bad except for the fact that (again due to apples limitations) you can't play those apps in the background, so you can't do anything else on your phone while your listening.

I'm generally of the opinion that Apple has made the right trade offs with regard to multi-tasking. By not allowing and providing alternative solutions to the common reasons that you might want an app to be running in the background (e.g., push notifications) they've created a platform of apps that are designed to only work when I need them and save my battery life otherwise, which I really appreciate. As evidenced by the podcast situation described above, the for third-party music playing and streaming apps kind of blows though...I wish Apple would make an exception to allow me to run one third party audio app in the background at a time. Rummer is they are supposed to be enabling something like this in iPhone os 4.0. We'll see...
posted by dyslexictraveler at 8:39 AM on January 31, 2010

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