Surprisingly, my sarcasm gets the better of me sometimes. After making a disparaging comment about the lack of quality Metro-style apps for Windows 8 and RT, I heard from a number of readers who had found some very useful and fun Metro apps. And one of the most often cited was SlapDash Podcasts, which fills a very real need in Windows 8/RT, the lack of integrated podcast support.
We may never see this podcast support appear directly from Microsoft via an Xbox-branded app, but given the high quality of SlapDash Podcasts, and it’s paid but inexpensive sibling, SlapDash Podcasts Pro—which costs just $1.99 and is advertising free—we may never need such an app.
SlapDash Podcasts is the mobile app frontend to the SlapDash Radio service. (There’s a Windows Phone version of this excellent app as well.) This service lets you subscribe to and manage podcasts in the cloud, rather than on a particular PC or device, which, if you’ve been paying attention, is exactly the right way to manage this kind of content.
To get started, you need to sign-in with a Facebook account, which might be a problem if you don’t have such a thing, in order to sync podcast subscriptions to the cloud. SlapDash is obviously useful without this feature on a single PC or device.
After that, it’s a simple matter of subscribing to podcasts, which you can find easily by searching the SlapDash catalog. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can also find particular podcasts via a URL. I had to add a couple of favorite podcasts—Travel with Rick Steves and NPR: On Point with Tom Ashbrook—this way.
The benefits of subscribing through a cloud service is that these podcasts will appear on any device you sign in with. So while I subscribed to certain podcasts from my main PC running Windows 8, these same podcasts appear when I use SlapDash on Surface with Windows RT and my Windows Phone 8-based HTC 8X.
What SlapDash appears to lack is a way to automatically download podcasts as they arrive, or using any kind of retention schedule (like “download the five most recent episodes” or whatever). That said, it offers a quick way to check for recent episodes and a nice Latest Episodes group in the main app view for finding new content quickly.
And you can simply stream podcasts to play them immediately: Downloading is only required for offline playback. (And furthest played location is synced between Windows 8/RT devices, though not to Windows Phone, at least not yet.)
SlapDash also provides background playback for both audio and video podcasts and a nice Snap view.
While episode download management is obviously a big need, SlapDash Podcasts provides an excellent platform for podcast lovers. Check out the free version to see if it meets your needs and, if so, be sure to pick up the Pro version for just $1.99. I have.