Gail writes: I used to love listening to podcasts on my old iPhone, but it died after I dropped it in a pool. Now I have a new Android phone (the Infuse), but it doesn’t work with iTunes, and I have no clue how to transfer my favorite podcasts to my new phone. Help!

Hi Gail! Yes, it’s true: iTunes isn’t compatible with Android phones (although there are a few third-party apps that seek to fix that problem).

The good news, however, is that Google’s official podcast app for Android, called Listen, does a great job of managing and storing podcasts directly on your Android handset—and if you ask me, it even improves on the iPod application for the iPhone when it comes to updaing podcasts automatically.

Update [7/12/12]: Having trouble finding podcasts using Listen? You’re not the only one. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of third-party, top-notch Android podcast apps to choose from in the Google Play app store. Read more…

Here’s how to get started with Listen…

  • On your Android phone, launch the Android Market (you can usually find it on your phone’s main home page, or by tapping the app launcher icon near the bottom of the screen.) Now tap the little magnifying glass in the top-right corner of the screen, then type “google listen” into the search bar that opens and hit Enter. The Listen app should be first search result. Tap it, click the install button, then tap “OK” when you’re asked to “accept permissions.”
  • You phone should begin to install Listen immediately; once it’s done, open the app launcher again, find Listen, and tap its icon.
  • Next, you’ll see the Listen home screen, complete with a search box at the top, and menu items that read “My listen items,” “My subscriptions,” and “Popular searches.”
  • OK, so what’s your favorite podcast? Let’s say, for example, it’s NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!” Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen, type “wait wait don’t tell me,” and press Enter.
  • You should get a list of search results pretty much right away. See the one you want? Just click the entry to bring up a detail page, including a podcast description.
  • Want to play the podcast immediately? Click “Listen now.” You can also download an individual podcast for playback later (“Add to queue”) or subscribe to a podcast (“Subscribe”).
  • Once you’ve subscribed to a few podcasts, tap the Back button (the button with the little curved arrow sitting beneath your phone’s display), then select “My listen items.” Any podcasts you’ve already downloaded will be stored here.
  • You can also have Listen automatically download new episodes of your subscribed podcasts directly to your phone—a key feature that the iPhone still can’t match. Just tap the circular green arrow on the “My listen items” screen, tap “Settings,” then choose how often you want Listen to check for new podcasts; I recommend once a day. (Checking more often may put undue strain on your handset’s battery.)
  • Had enough of a particular podcast? Tap “My subscriptions” from the main Listen page, select the podcast you’ve had enough of, then tap “Unsubscribe.”

Have more questions about Listen for Android? Let me know!

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