We've had the chance to look at an upcoming app from Igneous Software, who are responsible for the BBC Radio apps available on the Marketplace. Their latest project, BBC Podcast Lounge, does exactly what it says on the tin. The UI and design of the app is superb and follows on nicely from their previous radio apps, but it's the functionality and end-polish that shines in BBC Podcast Lounge.
On app launch you're greeted by the featured screen with tiles of top recommended podcasts. From here you can pan across and view all the genres (the BBC reportedly contains over 300 unique programmes) available, from Jazz and Rock all the way to Science and Soap, there's something for every taste. If you'd rather select shows by stations and / or region, a full list is present to break down the catalogue.
As well as the selection lists, programmes can be added to the favourites for more convenient access, but unfortunately they (or the radio stations) can't be pinned to the home screen. Search is also available, which will enable the user to filter through the programmes available in real-time. As well as the breakdown categories, featured, and favourites the main app screen also sports miscellaneous links for rating the app, etc. and providing feedback to the developers.
Playback is just what you'd expect from a generic media / music player, and with the included background playback functionality one can continue to battle zombies or help defeat Dr. Robotnik while listening to a gardening talk show. BBC Podcast Lounge also integrates itself into the list of applications in the Music and Video hub. Check out our quick walkthrough of the app below.
We expect BBC Radio Podcast to be hitting the Marketplace soon (we'll announce exactly when it's available). Note that features present in the video and covered by this preview article are subject to change. Igneous Software have stated they have plans to introduce a download manager and functionality for offline playback in the next version. Positive times ahead!