Archive for October, 2013

First Beta Version available

Written by sven. Posted in releases

For all of you who are impa­tient­ly wait­ing to try out uPod and who are will­ing to take a risk, I have good news: The first beta ver­sion of uPod is avail­able right now. Before I tell you how to get it, here’s the oblig­a­tory dis­claimer:

  • The avail­able ver­sion is the first one used by some­one else but me. So you should expect it to be slow as hell, crash in every pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion and destroy your data.
  • This first beta ver­sion is avail­able for free, but uPod is a com­mer­cial app and so a paid license will be nec­es­sary in the near future, so please don’t be sur­prised.
  • If uPod crash­es on your device, please send a crash report.
  • If you encounter bugs, please report them using the sup­port site.
  • If you would like to see a spe­cial fea­ture please report it/vote for it using the sup­port site.
  • I devel­op uPod in my free time, so please don’t expect an imme­di­ate response to your prob­lems.

Here are the fea­tures avail­able in this first beta ver­sion:

  • audio pod­cast play­back
  • auto­mat­ic, resum­able down­loads
  • drag-and-drop playlist
  • cov­er­art cen­tric user inter­face
  • sync of sub­scrip­tions, playlist and play­back posi­tions between all devices
  • effec­tive inbox work­flow for assort­ing new episodes
  • sup­port for blue­tooth head­sets and head­set con­trols
  • man­ag­ing pod­cast sub­scrip­tions
  • import of sub­scrip­tion lists from OPML files
  • respon­sive lay­out (look­ing nice on phone and tablet in por­trait and land­scape mode)
  • holo design

Here is what’s miss­ing but planned for the (far) future:

  • video play­back
  • vari­able audio play­back speed
  • dis­cov­er new pod­casts
  • OPML export
  • dark theme
  • wid­get

If you are still inter­est­ed then fol­low these instruc­tions to access the beta ver­sion:

  1. become a mem­ber of the uPod Beta Testers Com­mu­ni­ty at Google+
  2. accept the community’s rules
  3. fol­low uPod’s Google play! link pro­vid­ed in the com­mu­ni­ty to install the beta ver­sion
  4. Have fun!

Painless syncing

Written by sven. Posted in features

How many apps do you know were you need to con­fig­ure a sync inter­val or man­u­al­ly start a sync. I know a lot of them — among them are all news read­ers and pod­cast play­ers I’ve used in the past. What’s the prob­lem with this approach? Well, there sim­ply isn’t a right val­ue for the sync inter­val! If you set the inter­val to short you will have more up-to-date data but on the oth­er hand you will drain your bat­tery and waste unnec­es­sary net­work traf­fic. If you set the inter­val too high you will save bat­tery and net­work traf­fic but your data will be out-dat­ed.

Now ask your­self: Have you ever cared about sync­ing in Google Mail or Cal­en­dar? I haven’t but my date is always up-to-date to the minute. The good news is: uPod uti­lizes the google way for sync­ing, mean­ing your data will always be updat­ed imme­di­ate­ly when some­thing changed and no bat­tery or net­work traf­fic is wast­ed. Well, regard­ing new episodes you should know that the uPod serv­er can­not rec­og­nize them imme­di­ate­ly as RSS and Atom do not pro­vide a mech­a­nism for this — uPod scans all feeds it knows in a fixed inter­val mul­ti­ple times an hour, but then it imme­di­ate­ly push­es the changes to your devices.

How does this work? The apps were you need to con­fig­ure the sync inter­val »poll« the serv­er for changes: When­ev­er the con­fig­ured inter­val elapsed the app con­tacts the serv­er to ask for changes. uPod works the oth­er way round: The /server/ informs your devices when there is new infor­ma­tion avail­able. So if there are no new episodes avail­able for you the whole day, then the uPod app wont con­tact the serv­er a sin­gle time. In the oth­er case if there are new episodes every 30 min­utes, then your device will fetch them. This mech­a­nism is most­ly impres­sive if you are using two (or more) devices: Make a change (e.g. add an episode to the library, change the play­back posi­tion) on your tablet and 30 sec­onds lat­er your phone will reflect the lat­est changes.

Listening the first episode

Written by sven. Posted in features

Today I have break­ing news for you: A few min­utes ago I’ve unin­stalled Pock­et Casts! The rea­son for this is that the audio play­back in uPod is ful­ly work­ing and so final­ly uPod has all the fea­tures I expect from an audio pod­cast play­er and a much bet­ter usabil­i­ty than all of the play­ers I know.

These are the play­back relat­ed fea­tures avail­able today:

  • A clean audio play­back view with large play­back con­trols care­ful­ly opti­mized for por­trait and land­scape view and dif­fer­ent screen sizes
  • Play­back con­trol using your wired or blue­tooth head­sets. Depend­ing on the avail­able con­trols on your head­set the fol­low­ing actions are avail­able: play, pause, rewind, fast for­ward, back (play cur­rent episode from begin­ning), skip (mark cur­rent episode as lis­tened and play next episode on playlist) and stop
  • Name of play­ing episode on your blue­tooth headset’s dis­play
  • Play­back con­trols on android lock screen
  • Play­back con­trols and progress in noti­fi­ca­tion (on Jel­ly Bean and above)
  • Play­back bar in every uPod view opti­mized for dif­fer­ent screen sizes (phone vs. tablet)
  • Playlist sortable via drag and drop
  • Play­ing down­loaded episodes or stream­ing episodes
  • Actions on each episode to stream, play, play next (adds to sec­ond posi­tion on playlist) or add to end of playlist

That’s a huge step towards a beta release. But before I need to smooth the rough edges. So enjoy the screen­shots and stay tuned…
PlaybackPlayback in landscape
Playback notificationLockscreen playback
PlaylistPlaylist on tablet