One of my first favorite apps for Android was Google Listen, a Labs project that offered a simple way to track and listen to podcasts on the go. No syncing, minimal set up, just click and listen to your favorite shows. You could search and subscribe from the app, or just add audio RSS feeds into Google Reader and it just worked great.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated in a year and it’s gotten to be … pretty break-y. Stuff like subscriptions not updating, not being able to download new shows and, most recently, awful blipping sounds that sound like a skipping old tape. Why an MP3 would sound like an old tape is beyond me. Some combination of clearing the cache, uninstalling and re-installing the app, and getting a new phone usually cleared the problems for a few weeks, but it was bad enough that I searched for an alternative.

The best I’ve found so far after playing around with about five options is ACast. It’s the only thing I’ve found so far that fits in relatively closely as a drop-in Listen replacement:

  • Syncs with my Google Reader Listen folder
  • Plays podcasts without having to locally sync or tether with my computer
  • Works consistently

It’s also got a complicated UI and literally thousands of ways to configure it, but since I spend about 20 seconds picking a show and an hour listening, I can get past that.