Stitcher recently added Facebook timeline integration to its talk radio app, allowing users to instantly share whatever it is they’re listening to, be it live audio streams or podcasts, to their social circle. Of course, the most excellent Android Central Podcast is available on Stitcher, but there’s really an unending stream of stuff to listen to.
There’s a home screen widget with simple playback controls, which is nice (and for some, necessary). The Top News featured section is very nicely done, with tabs for top soundbytes, what’s hot, and what’s new. Lists of recent episodes have appropriate thumbnails and short descriptions to get your attention, but that’s about as focused on eye candy as Stitcher gets. Switching between screens lacks any decent transition animations
The web component to Stitcher is a smidgen more polished than the app, but complements it nicely. Friends that click through on anything shared to Facebook will be taken to a very polished site with a stream ready and waiting for them.
Stitcher’s catalog of content is truly impressive. Stations are first categorized into playback and live streams, then there are distinct categories of content, including technology, sports, entertainment, science, local, and lots of others. Of course, if you’re looking for something specific, there’s a search bar at the top and sorting by sources. . Once you find that perfect show, you can market it as a favorite and have Stitcher generate a custom station which mixes in other shows. That station is then tweaked based on thumbs-up and thumbs-down ratings, not unlike a Pandora for podcasts.
The new sharing feature to Facebook is nicely customizable, so you can automatically share everything you listen to on Stitcher, everything your Thumbs Up, shows that are added to favorites, or nothing at all if you’re not into that kind of thing. Personally, I’m a huge fan of social listening and am a fan of Rdio for exactly that reason. It would be great to see Stitcher go one step further with its own friending system, so you can get suggested listening based on buddies on Stitcher and Facebook.
One real sticking point in my experience is that Stitcher doesn’t play nice with wired headset controls. That includes pausing and playing with the in-line mute button, though playback buttons on stereo Bluetooth headsets work just fine. This feature is a must-have for any Android app that hopes to stand a chance as a regular source of listening, so folks without Bluetooth headsets may quickly be turned off from Stitcher.
It would be nice to have Stitcher set up as a more traditional podcatcher (especially now that Google Listen is dead). A simple list of subscriptions sorted by latest update and the option for offline caching would be enough to keep me happy.
- Huge catalog of content
- No playback control with wired headsets
Sitcher is free to use, so there really isn’t any reason not to use it, especially if you’re having trouble finding talk radio to listen to. It would be nice to see the network opened up to more than talk radio and include music streams, though I imagine things would get tricky with licensing fees.
Generally speaking I like to manually pick and chose the stations I listen to, so the auto-generated station part of Stitcher is mostly lost on me, but it’s a great opportunity for those that are tired of listening to the same voices every day.