When Google Listen was removed from the Play Store just a few days ago, I started looking for a replacement podcast player. The requirements were actually fairly simple, as I didn’t want a complicated, flashy app with lots of features and a price tag like BeyondPod or DoggCatcher. Instead, I wanted an almost direct replacement for Listen: Something with simple styling, and a no-nonsense approach to playing audio podcasts. After some browsing of the Play Store and some searching, I found exactly what I was looking for in an app called Hipstacast.
The simple podcast player has only around 500 downloads, as the odd name means that it may not show up in searches very often. However, the few reviews left for the app leave it with a four and a half star rating, and with good reason. Hipstacast has a very simple and clutter free interface, with the main screen showing just a list of your podcasts. In the top right corner, there is a button to search through the episodes or refresh the podcast list, and the menu for accessing settings. Even this app’s settings menu is quite sparse, and only has options to change the automatic update frequency and a checkbox for whether or not the app should download over a mobile data connection.
When a podcast is selected from the homescreen, the app presents a simple list of the podcast’s new episodes. Once downloaded, selecting an episode will bring up a simple now playing screen, with just a play/pause button for controls, the episode’s name below that, and the provided description (if any) below that. While the app doesn’t yet support streaming, it does do a good job of remembering where you left off with an episode and resuming when you return to that episode.
Importing my podcasts was the only task that proved a bit troublesome with this app. It does support the standard OPML file import, but not through the app directly. Instead, choosing import from the menu will give you a link and a pair of four digit codes. If you follow this link with another browser, you will get to a page where you can enter both codes and upload an OPML file. Once you do that, all you need to do is press import once again on the device, and all your podcasts will show up. I’m not completely sure why the developer decided to manage importing this way, but it works fine so I won’t complain too much.
Despite this odd importing annoyance, Hipstacast still proved to be a very good podcast player. The simplicity makes it easy to get right to the content, the simple HOLO theme blends well with Android and isn’t cluttered, and most of the basic features a podcast app needs are there. It would be great if the app supported streaming and playing older archive episodes from a feed, but even in its current state Hipstacast does exactly what it promises. Anyway, updates should be coming soon, so even if it doesn’t have all the features just yet, it should only get better in the future.
Download: Google Play