Today I am proud to announce that uPod is not only the most battery and data saving podcast player when it comes to scanning for new episodes, but since today also the one which delivers new episodes nearly immediately!
You can divide the available podcast players for Android into two sections: The standalone Android client apps and the server based apps. For the standalone apps you normally must decide for an update interval (e.g. two hours). The client then fetches all your subscribed podcasts for example every two hours to check whether there are new episodes available. This checking consumes a lot of battery and a lot of data traffic, as your device has to contact each single podcast. In most cases just to recognize that nothing has changed.
The server based apps like for examples Pocket Casts and uPod perform the update check of all the podcasts from a server: They are continuously »crawling« all the podcasts they know about in an endless loop. The benefit is, that the app only needs to contact one single server instead of contacting all the single podcasts. In the case of Pocket Casts you still need to decide how often the app should check the server for updates. For uPod this decision isn’t required, as the uPod server pushes all changes it recognizes directly to the affected clients. So regarding battery and data usage uPod’s solution is the most effective one.
On the other hand the server based approach also has it’s drawbacks: One crawl cycle (scanning all podcasts for new episodes) can take a few hours. For example yesterday the uPod server required four hours to scan all the about 1,700 podcasts it knows about for new episodes. As a result each podcast was only scanned six times a day and in the worst case you needed to wait for four hours to see a new episode on your device. This is also a known problem for Pocket Casts where a delay of two hours until a new episode appears on your device isn’t unusual.
Today I’ve solved this issue for uPod! New episodes for podcasts which support push notifications will appear within five minutes on your device. But even for classical podcasts not supporting push, you will receive new episodes within about twenty minutes. These results can only be achieved by a powerful server infrastructure, meaning that I need invest quite some money per month. But to my knowledge uPod now is not only the most battery and data saving podcast player when it comes to episode scanning, but also the one with the best reaction time. Please let me know if there are faster ones.