So, I really got into podcasts when I started using the Zune and the Zune software. I really liked how it managed the Podcasts, to include adding urls for podcast that were not listed in the Zune catalog. With Windows Phone, I just synched my existing podcast collection to my phone. Let me preface this with; I have never had a problem with the need to connect my phone to a computer. Zune has offered wifi synching for quite some time now, I tried it and didn’t like it, a personal opinion/preference.
So, I noticed while picking through my collection of podcasts on my phone, I noticed there was a subscribe button. I had to try it. At first it was a pretty cool function but after a few days I am very suspicious of the accuracy of its content update. A few concerns I have:
- Content Management: I added 32GB to my Focus so not an urgent one for me but for those with the 8GB it shipped with it has to be a bigger issue. With the tethered method, the Zune software detected that a podcast entry had been listened to and it removed it from the device. With the new system, once you subscribe to the podcast on the phone it no longer synchs via the Zune software (at least that’s what I have seen). With the on phone podcast aggregator, once you tell it how many items you want to keep, it keeps them even if they have been listened to.
- Update Frequency: I have matched up my phone collection to my Zune (computer) collection; the phone is never as current as what is on the computer.
- Connectivity: Now I have had issues with my phone connecting to my Linksys wireless router and more inclined to think it is the router more than the phone but I have seen the issue on other wireless connections. The phone notices a new podcast entry is available or I subscribe to a new podcast. The marketplace shows there are downloads. When I check to see what downloads are in the queue they all say attention required. I turned on the download when on wifi only to save myself from going beyond my monthly data limit of course. If I disconnect from wifi and connect right back to the say wifi network the downloads start flowing.
- Format: On more than one occasion a podcast episode finishes downloading and when I try to play it, the phone tells me it is not in a format it can play. This is really puzzling since they are podcasts listed in the phone’s marketplace.
I think this is a really cool feature and I hope that in some further testing these issues are resolved or can be simply explained. Scenarios such as travelling, having this feature could eliminate the need to install Zune on my laptop to keep my podcast episodes up to date.