Pocket Casts for Windows Phone: Now available to supercharge your podcast experience

I'll confess something. I listen to a lot of podcasts, but I nearly always avoid using my Windows Phone to do so. Why? Because I've used and enjoyed Pocket Casts on other platforms so much over the years that I could never feel as comfortable with something else. And there are some good apps to choose from.

Now, Shifty Jelly, has brought it to Windows Phone for the first time. It was teased a short time ago but as of today it has officially launched in the Windows Phone Store. And it's a good 'un.

So, what makes it so good? We'll start with the developer's own description:

"This is the simplest and most powerful podcast app on the Windows Phone platform. The app draws on Windows Phone design principles while maintaining the familiar Pocket Casts UI.""Pocket Casts delegates podcast parsing to our online servers. Other clients spend time at launch checking each subscription one-by-one to see if there are any new episodes. Pocket Casts makes one call to one server and receives many results at once. Thanks to the server based parsing, Pocket Casts can refresh hundreds of podcasts in only a few seconds, so you can start listening sooner."

Pocket Casts

Part of the big appeal of Pocket Casts is cross-device syncing. Be that multiple Windows Phones, iPhone, iPad, Android, the web, or a mixture of all, you can take your podcasts pretty much anywhere and keep everything perfectly synchronized. It requires a free sync account, but once you've done that, you need never worry again.

It doesn't just sync your subscriptions, either. Your favorites and even current progress can be carried across from device to device. And that's all pretty sharp.

Since your subscriptions can refresh on their own, Pocket Casts allows you to set latest episodes to automatically download when you're on a Wifi connection. It works as well as advertised and means you've always got your latest listens ready and waiting, especially when cellular connectivity is going to become an issue. The default setting will check for new episodes every hour, but you're able to change this to between 30 mins and 12 hours at some set intervals. Or, just check manually. Your call.

"Users can create episode filters to match whichever criteria they'd like. Want a list of every downloaded but unplayed episode? How about a list of video episodes that you haven't downloaded yet? Easy with these filters. "

Pocket Casts

It doesn't forget the basics, though. And that is, it's a good podcast listening app. If you want to listen at reduced or increased speed, not a problem. There's a sliding scale between 0.5x and 2x to change listening speed that you can apply to specific, or all of your podcasts. If you missed something, tap a button to go back 10 seconds at a time. If you want to skip on, no worries, a tap will punt you forward 45 seconds. Or, you can just scroll, as you can in any good music player app.

Better still, you can change those defaults of 10 and 45 seconds. Customize to your own liking. Just like you can tell Pocket Casts to stream or download by default.

The rich experience continues with support for full show notes and an "Up next" queue to create a constant playlist. And for those that will ask, yes, you swipe between the headings, no taps required.

Pocket Casts

So far, it's all been about the listening experience. But Pocket Casts is also pretty handy when it comes to finding new shows to listen to. It's got a fantastic Discover section which has a whole host of shows to recommend to you. There's three headings: Featured, Trending and Most Popular. All pretty self explanatory, but all well worth browsing through if your library needs freshening up. Or you can just search, as you'd expect.

So, what's it like to actually use when you put all this together? I'm fortunate enough to have been playing around with it for a few weeks now and I'm not at all disappointed. This isn't some half-baked 'port' for Windows Phone. This is the real deal, the proper Pocket Casts, and it's excellent. Shifty Jelly has done some fine work, and if you're a cross-platform device user, this is definitely the one to have. Even if you're not, it's up there with the very best podcast apps Windows Phone has to offer. There are a couple of things it doesn't currently support, like the import/export of OPML files (though it is something Pocket Casts deals with elsewhere, so it's possible for the future) and there doesn't seem to be any current support for video podcasts.

And it's only just arrived. But if you've been looking for something to devour your podcasts and haven't yet found something that feels right, check out Pocket Casts. Because it could be the one you've been waiting for.

QR: Pocket Casts

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Wow so fast... It was said a week before that it's making a way here.. Hope further updates comes in same way Its features are looking brilliant
  • So much work from the developers and tomorrow MS will announce android apps in windows phones...which will make all the effort worthless.
  • It is only a rumor.
  • If they do this, it will kill WP. Surely they must realise that, as it's patently obvious.
  • WTF? No it won't.
  • Ssshhhh. The developer of this newly published app is reading and replying to comments. Keep mum.
  • Enabling Android app support in Blackberry really gave those gu...no wait, it didn't. I could go on about this for literal days, but building native is always going to be different to just porting some Android app over. You won't have the same APIs and it will be hobbled to all hell. We _always_ build natively for every platform we're on. That's how you get the best results long term and as indie devs who care about the quality of our product, there's no other way :)
  • "...different to just porting some Android [crap] over..." is what I think you meant.
  • Exactly! And would you quit developing for Windows just because it had some ability to run Adroid apps in a container? Thurrott thinks you would.
  • Because the compeition is much tougher. Also, with those well established versions of Android apps, do you think there is any chance for WP apps to outshine them??? No way. Rudy apps may seems to be excellent now, but with Android apps start to pour in, all his apps will no longer shine as they are now.
  • Well put
  • No it won't. A native app is still superior. If they want the most users, they'll want a native Windows app. It sounds like they're here to compete.
  • You do realize that anyone running Android OS has to pay Microsoft to run it.... They basically own Android yes theres technicalities but a slave is a slave no mattet the ethnicities
  • Having Android Apps has helped nobody. Blackberry, Jola and Amazon are classic examples.
  • But Windowsphone is better than BB , JOLLA & AMAZON
  • They probably won't, more likely they will announce easy ways to port android code to their platform, or even have a java compiler so you can code windows apps in java with native performance.
  • Sadly now seems to be abandoned and is full of bugs. Wont download anything in background for example.
  • Alright Devine.  I've been hoping to get into Podcasts and on your word alone, I'm goin' in with this app. Looks good so we'll check it out.
  • Windows store is growing more and more...
  • Oh yeah. And it was a nice week for wp since there was no news of any app leaving wp.
  • The best benefit to me is syncing across all devices, but I don't want to pay $4 per devices of different OSes.
  • If they are different OSes...i think you should have to pay
  • Universal app?
  • Funny you ask that, because a lot of these bone heads keep saying that Universal apps in W8.1/WP8.1 aren't yet Universal apps... Doesn't really make any sense, when we know they are. MS says they are, WC says they are... SMDH.. We've been using COMPLETELY Universal apps since W8.1......
    Why do people think this is new to W10❓
  • W8.1 are universal apps, dot.
  • Tell that to your friends..... They argue that they are Universal only in looks, and synchronization..
    I beg to differ, and say that from what MS says, and what we learned at Build 2014, they are already apps with shared code... They also say that the Universal app symbol in the store isn't a Universal app symbol, rather just a "purchase once, download twice", symbol...... Lol❗
  • Technically speaking, most universal apps out today would need to be rewritten once their APIs were complete.
    Hence not actually universal yet. Little incentive to develop for an unfinished platform. Not developer friendly either! http://stackoverflow.com/questions/23030120/how-to-format-a-date-in-an-w...
  • So, why does that not make them universal❓ Are you saying they would have to be recompiled for W10, or that they are technically not Universal❓ As far as we know they are, from the core, universal.
  • WinRT for mobile and desktop only contain a subset of the APIs available on both OSes, and neither runtimes have fully converged.  There is no Skype Universal app (WinRT) because VoIP API is nonexistent for WP8.1... You can imagine how this might roadblock a developer working on a complex app. Want to know why WinRT never took off? https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsapps/en-US/db192df0-1a44...
  • Here is one of the quotes from the link:
    I agree with you but XNA games can run on Windows 8 desktop PCs/Laptops. I hope Microsoft may come up with some kind of library similiar to XNA to help XNA developers. They may have to plan to port XNA from DirectX 9.0 to 11.0 or they may come up with version of XNA just specific to Windows 8 Metro. If they do that they will see great number of 2D/3D XNA apps for sure. XNA is really easy to use since it hides all the inner plumbing and provide re-usable library code which helps a lot.
    As it stands, Universal apps do not help developers.  All Universal apps do is increase the amount of apps across Windows devices :/ I wonder what they will announce later this afternoon...
  • I see the difference.. Nice❗
  • 8.1 offers the ability to create a universal app, but only if the developer does so. It is still possible to make 8.1 apps that are not universal. As far as I can tell this app is only for phone.
  • Sure.. The same applies to W10.. The developer is commenting below. We can ask if he plans to make it universal in the future.
  • Some apps on Windows Phone 8.1, are silverlight or WinRT apps and some on Windows 8.1 are WinJS, so they can't be Universal apps. (native MS apps) ;) But, if the app is WinRT+WinRT, like Flipboard or WinJS+WinJS like (Tweetium) you can be sure that is Universal. The diference, is that 8.1 apps just share the code and not the design (XAML). So isn't really universal. Windows 10 apps are 100% universal. Is one Package (one .appx to PC, Phone)   Calendar, Mail, People, Music, Video on Windows 8.1 are WinJS. Calendar, WinRT on Windows Phone 8.1 Music, Video are Silverlight apps on Windows Phone 8.1 People, Mail, is a low level app, native on WP 8.1 
  • I see.. Understood. Nice summary. Thanks❕
  • A universal app is one where you have one complete, self contained set of code for the core app and the various UI code for every device form factor it might run on. It's one app in one store that can be installed and run on a phone, PC, tablet, Xbox, Surface Hub, etc. Windows 8.1 apps were distinct and different from Windows Phone 8.1 apps, This was necessary because the OSes could not run each other's apps.
  • Lot of official apps coming in.... This always happens around build.
  • Is this Windows Phone only, or can I install it as well on my Surface 2?
  • Ps oh hell, loved it on Android, so ill take a chance on it for WinPhone... Just wish one could kick the tires a bit before buying it. Will just do one less Starbucks trip today :-)
  • I spread paid for the Android version. I shouldn't have to pony up again...
  • I appreciate that sentiment, but I spent 3 months of my life building this app. If you want to see it grow and be maintained, $4 isn't a lot to ask once off is it?
  • Do you plan to make this app Universal in the future❓
  • One step at a time. Making a universal app is not some magical checkbox we can push, you have to design the UI and functionality that makes sense as your app moves between the different platforms. The app is written in a way that the code is universal, but it would take a lot of work to support it. All of which means, we'll see, it's a possibility for the future.
  • Great, and we completely understand.. Thanks for your support❗❗❗❗❗❗
    Just, one more question....... I see this is your first WP app... Why exactly is it that you chose to finally support WP❓ Is it because you see promise in WP itself❓ W10 is promising❓ Demand from WP fans❓ You personally like WP❓ Or, was it out of sheer pity❓ lol... But, seriously... What's your reasoning❓❓
  • Good question. Some of the main reasons: -the amount of people that contacted us, it wears you down after a while. -all the buzz around Windows 10, and it looking like MS is going all in on Windows Phone. For a while with the split between 7.0, 8.0, 8.1 and WinRT it all just looked a bit messy to even bother. -playing with new tech. I love anything new and shiny and C# was right up my alley having done a lot of Java coding before, so it was fun to play with Do I see promise in WP? Sure, but I won't lie to you it feels like right now is when it's all happening for this platform. Either it takes off in a big way over the next few years or it dies slowly and MS kills it off. I'm hoping for the first one obviously, otherwise we wouldn't be here ;)
  • Nice❗❗❗ I hear you loud and clear.. Cool.
    I lied, another question.... In your opinion, is it just as easy developing for WP, as iDroid❓ Or, in order what's the easiest, to the hardest, platform to develop for❓Which is most annoying❓ And, don't say me.
  • What is this, like a Reddit AMA or something? Ok last answer one :-P Funnily enough MS I'd say has the best SDK and IDE out there. Eaisly better than iOS and Android. They have the nicest language in C# as well (though that's a religious debate that I don't want to argue with people over). That said it's actually the hardest one to develop for. Main reasons: - nowhere near enough people developing for it, which means not many good third party libraries and common problems are often hard to find answers for. So a lot of people end up re-inventing the same thing. In terms of libraries, soooo many abandoned wp 7.0 and 8.0 libraries that look like they were good in there day. - the confusion over 7.0 -> 8.0 -> 8.1 API changes. As a new developer when you go looking through documentation it's really hard to make sure you've found the right APIs to be using, and even then it's hard if you don't know the history of how things changed through those transitions. Felt like a history lesson in some respects ;) - it's just not as streamlined when it comes to building UIs as iOS is. It's probably on par with Android in this respect. The above might sound negative, but like I said, those things aside it's the best of the 3 development platforms. Just my 2 cents. Don't hurt me ;)
  • Seems as though Microsoft is working on UI consistency with W10, if that's what you mean.
    You schooled me a lot.. That's perfect, and those are the exact answers I was looking for.. Just your honest opinion.. Like I said before, thanks for supporting WP...
  • Its probably only easy if devs kill off older versions of roid
  • You sold me. I'm in!
  • True. Thanks for supporting the platform.
  • It would be nice if there was a trial mode that had a limited number of background syncs or something... Because I am more than happy and willing to pay for an app that I like and use, but I'm not inclined to spend $4 on something that might not function any better tha