The more apps we use with Android Auto, the more we appreciate simplicity. There's a pretty fine line between doing just enough, and going overboard. And Joyride (download here) — which is an excellent podcatcher unto itself — is pretty excellent as an Android Auto application.
Let's take a quick look.
I'm new to Joyride, so it was a treat to see that it's sporting some proper account sign-in, using Facebook or Google+ — or Joyride's own, should you not want to use the others. (My current podcatcher of choice, Pocket Casts, still doesn't have those options.) That means you'll get proper episode syncing, which is excellent. Allow me to pic nits for one second, however: Joyride really needs to update the UI on the account picker. And there's no apparent way to log out should you want to do so. Finding podcasts is easy enough, using Joyride's "Daily Hot List" or the search tool.
The app's phone UI is simple — you see the podcast you're subscribed to, you can browse current shows in "My Feed," and see what you've already download in its own section. The app's got a few settings that are worth looking through — if only to turn off the "Shortcut on Bluetooth Connect" option. It felt really intrusive for the app to ping me anytime it spotted that I was connected to Bluetooth. (Which, in my car, happens automatically.)
Once you're plugged in to Android Auto, the simplicity of the app really starts to shine. There are just a couple levels in the menu scheme — that's how you get to "My Feed" and "Hot Shows" — and the podcasts you're subscribed to are all on the top level. It's possible to run into the dreaded "For safety reasons that we won't actually explain here we can't show you the content you just tapped on" message if you're subscribed to a bunch of podcasts and have to scroll a couple of times to get to the one you want. But keep just a few in Joyride and you'll be OK.
The "Now Playing" screen is blissfully simple as well. Just play/pause, forward/back, and clearly labeled 10-second reverse and 30-second skip buttons. (Joyride does them correctly here, and that design should really be made standard.)
And, well, that's it. A simple podcatcher in an environment that needs simple controls.
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