Shifty Jelly, the company behind one of the most popular podcast apps of all-time, has announced that Pocket Casts is now available on Alexa, via a new skill.
This is a pretty big deal on a few fronts. Firstly, Alexa doesn't really have a way to play podcasts on its smart speakers. There are some workarounds, but none of them really work well. It's also a big deal because it is able to play podcasts from where you left off on your phone.
With Pocket Casts now available on Alexa, you can simply ask Alexa to play your favorite podcast on your Alexa-enabled speaker. Just tell Alexa the name of the show and then "play on Pocket Casts" and you're good to go. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, this is actually going to be a pretty big deal, as Pocket Casts does have a lot of podcasts available in its app - basically any podcast that exists. And now being able to play it with your voice, is a great thing to have.
To get things setup, you'll need to go and find the Pocket Casts Alexa skill in the store. From there, you'll need to enable it and then add your account. Your account is needed because Alexa is going to need to know which podcasts are in your account, where you left off and so forth. So that it can continue where you left off.
Pocket Casts is a podcatcher app that originally debuted on Android - since Android didn't really have a podcast app. It quickly became one of the best options out there, due to how easy it was to use the app, and the fact that you could sync your account across different platforms. Fast-forward to today, where Pocket Casts is now available on virtually every platform. Including iOS, Web, Google Assistant and now Alexa.
If you're a big podcast listener, then this is a pretty big announcement. Seeing as Alexa does technically have podcasts, but it has to be a podcast that is available on TuneIn Radio. The sad thing is, there are very few podcasts available on TuneIn Radio, since it's not really a podcast app. And Alexa doesn't realize that a lot of shows aren't in the "podcast" section. However, with Pocket Casts now on Alexa, users have a real podcatcher app to use on Alexa and play their favorite shows.
Pocket Casts is a free app, but in order to use Alexa, you will need to pay. It's $3.99 on Android and iOS, or $9 if you want to use the web. This is a one-time purchase, not a recurring purchase, which takes a bit of the sting out of it. You'll need to pay to use it with Alexa, since Sync is a paid feature, and that's kinda needed to work with Alexa, unfortunately. But $3.99 is not a bad price at all.
The developers behind Pocket Casts say that there are more features coming to its Alexa skill in the very near future, but haven't said what those features might be.