Pocket Casts by Shifty Jelly
I am sad to admit that I did not truly discover podcasting until 2012, when I started a job that required more than a half-hour drive each way. After a bit of research and testing other podcasting apps, I settled on Pocket Casts. This feature-rich app is always one of the first apps that I download when setting up a new Android device. Beautiful and powerful, Pocket Casts allows you to follow all of your favorite podcasts easily. It supports both audio and video podcasts, and showcases two awesome features: Automatic podcast downloads through “smart playlists” and the ability to sync your place in a podcast across any device connected to your free Pocket Casts account. Start listening on your phone, but want to finish up on your tablet? No problem at all!
Podcasting is a wonderful world filled with experts like Neil deGrasse Tyson, the TWiT.tv crew, and Frogpants Studios, to name a very few. Shows can cover every topic from economics to history to technology news to writing advice – nearly anything and everything. Searching for new things to listen to is easy. The Discovery page is visually pleasing, showing the album artwork for individual podcasts across multiple sections and categories. If you can’t find your favorite program, fear not! All you have to do is paste the RSS feed link of your missing podcast into the Discover page’s search box, an insanely useful feature if you want to follow a new podcast that may not be well-known.
If you haven’t discovered the world of podcasting, jump in head-first with one of the best podcasting apps on the Play Store.
Play Newsstand by Google
Although it comes pre-installed on most new Android devices and automatically updated on most of the latest devices already in use, Play Newsstand is a must-use app, especially for tablet owners. If you have even a mild interest in keeping up-to-date with the news, Play Newsstand is an easy way to do it. You can search and select from a broad range of online publications and categories, as well as add your own favorite websites through RSS. If you find an article that you want to save for later, you can either bookmark it or easily export it to your favorite read-it-later service like Pocket or Instapaper.
Now, to what I think is the handiest feature of this app: In addition to pulling in news from almost any online source, Play Newsstand also handles your magazine subscriptions. Any magazine bought through the Google Play Store is instantly added to your Play Newsstand selection upon availability. With the general improvements to the Play Store’s magazine subscription service in late 2013, this makes Play Newsstand absolutely invaluable to those of us who want to consume our favorite magazines on the go.
Besides all of the features packed into this app, the Play Store will often have discounted subscriptions and free samples. So sit back and relax with your favorite monthly, because Play Newsstand’s available on the Play Store.
When I discovered this app, I nearly jumped for joy. There’s one thing about my daily schedule that almost never changes: When I go to sleep. Having an app that automates silent mode makes my life better because it’s one less thing to remember to do at the end of the day. But this app is so much more than that. Sure, I could make the effort to put my phone on silent every night, but what if I forget? Someone could wake me up in the middle of the night when I absolutely need to be rested for work in the morning. Or what if someone calls me with an emergency? Silent mode will ensure that I miss their call.
Do Not Disturb Me pairs the necessary silent mode needed for good sleep with the mandatory availability to loved ones during those late hours. Specify what time you want the app to engage and disengage, and your phone won’t utter a chirp between those hours. However, you can also set up a white list that allows any number of selected contacts from your phone book to be able to call or text you during your quiet hours, causing your Android smartphone to go off as if it were business as usual. If anyone other than those selected contacts calls, your phone will remain a silent black slate on the table. Additional features include specifying the number of times called before your phone will go off and multiple quiet hours (set up through separate profiles).
This app has been tremendously useful to myself and everyone I’ve recommended it to – download it from the Play Store and try it out!
- Google Play Newsstand merges magazine subscriptions, news sites (electronista.com)
- The Most Beautiful Android Apps of 2013 (theultralinx.com)
- Best apps for your new Android phone or tablet (theverge.com)
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