BlackBerry owners who love podcasts got some good news from RIM yesterday that announced a free application and service for their BlackBerry phones called “BlackBerry Podcasts”. BlackBerry Podcasts starts with a directory of 1000 popular podcasts.
BlackBerry Podcasts gives users access to free audio and video content that can be downloaded over Wi-Fi(R) or over cellular networks(i) and then enjoyed through the BlackBerry media player.
With BlackBerry Podcasts, users can search the Podcast Catalog by keyword, category, channel or top downloads, and subscribe or simply preview a particular podcast before subscribing. Downloaded episodes can be stored on a microSD card, to be enjoyed at any time. BlackBerry Podcasts also leverages the push technology of the BlackBerry platform to notify users when new content from a subscribed channel becomes available.
Content providers currently include: Above and Beyond, Bloomberg, CBC, Corus, Discovery Networks, How Stuff Works, HBR, NPR, PRI, Reuters, Speed TV, TVO, The Onion, Wizzard Media, Resident Advisor Podcast and many more.
RIM is a bit late getting into this game as podcasting first appeared on the scene six years ago. Apple added podcasts to iTunes and therefore to iPods (and later iPhones) in July of 2005. Android phones included a podcast listener from first release although the RIM client appears to be more full-featured than either the Android or iPhone built-in podcast support. The iPhone, for instance, supports podcasts with iTunes but does not support directly downloading podcasts to the phone (although 3rd party applications do allow for this).
This is good news for BlackBerry owners but is also good news for podcast producers because of the number of BlackBerry users. Rob Walsh of Wizzard Media says that, “we feel this will quickly become one of the top 3 places for people to discover podcasts”. And yes, as a podcaster I am particularly excited to hear that two of my podcasts are in the directory: Amateur Traveler and This Week in Travel.