Over the past few years, podcasts have become increasingly easier to find, manage and listen to, thanks to several dedicated channels for them available on the web and in form of apps for pretty much every platform out there. We have seen several such apps for Android in the past, a few notable ones being AntennaPod, Volksempfanger and VoAudio. Player FM is the latest entrant in this genre that supports accounts as well as guest login, complete with support for sharing your own channel, automatic downloads for offline listening and manually downloading any podcast of your choice. With a choice of over 300 topics to choose from and more planned by the developers, you can always find something of interest, and set the ones you like as ‘favorites’ for quick access . With its widget and lockscreen widget (Android 4.2+) support, swipe navigation, and the fact that the app is free, Player FM has all the makings of an app that will make people want to explore and learn about stuff on the go. We take a closer look at the app after the break.
The app’s Holo-themed UI employs red accents instead of the more traditional blue, giving it a distinctively bold look. The interface is well laid out, offering both thumbnail and list views. When running the app for the first time, you will be asked to choose from a multitude of topics that will later translate into various podcast channels appearing on the main screen based on the topic of your choice.
To browse through selective topics, you can use the drop down navigation menu from the top ribbon, or simply swipe right or left to switch to the adjacent ones.
Jumping to the player, it retains the red Holo theme and provides some useful playback controls such as fast forwarding, previous/next, repeat etc. These relatively advanced controls can be accessed via the slide-in and slide-out buttons on the player. Needless to say, the player sticks at the bottom of the screen as you navigate through the app, keeping the controls accessible throughout playback while you browse any section of the app.
The player shows up in the notification drawer as well, with basic play back controls. As mentioned earlier, podcasts can be downloaded manually, and you can also copy the mp3 link, Player FM link or publisher link to the clipboard for accessing later.
Player FM allows import of OPML files as well, so you can enjoy the same channels synced across all your devices and other podcast players that allow exporting in OPML format.
You can add channels to your own channel displayed as your Player FM user ID. Doing so lets you share what you’re listening to with the public. You can also set your profile to be more private and not publicly accessible.
What was offline listening again, you ask? Once the auto-download feature is enabled, the app will automatically download the latest episode from your each of your subscriptions. You can choose to restrict this function to only Wi-Fi as well, so that it doesn’t effect your data package. You can also limit the number of offline episodes to keep.
These automatic downloads cannot be deleted manually, and will automatically delete themselves after a day. Currently the app does not offer in-app playback of older content saved via the ‘Export RAW mp3 file to system’ option, but the developers plan on adding this feature in the future.
- Offline listening via automatic downloads
- Download any podcast as mp3
- Social element via user channel and sharing
- Cannot delete offline material downloaded automatically from within the app
- No in-app playback for manually saved content