App

A simple approach to podcasting, but how does it compare to others?

Price: $3/£3
Version: 1.0.2
Size: 14.1 MB
Developer: Nice Boy
Platform: iPhone / iPad

Get ‘sodes

The thing about podcasts is that they form part of a truly revolutionary platform. But unusually, for a new piece of tech, they’ve had a relatively long run-up. Rather than burning bright and fading away quickly, podcasts have been around for more than a decade, and maybe lasted longer than anyone thought.

The Home feed is straightforward and shows your favorites, unplayed and in progress listening

But this run-up has allowed podcasts to be a fertile ground for individuals to grow the platform on their terms. They’ve remained a free platform, with money generated largely via built-in ads.

While you can use Apple’s own apps to access this audio, it’s been independent developers that have been leading the charge, adding new and more intricate features and discovery tools. But a brand new app – ‘sodes – is looking to take things back to basics.

‘sodes puts more emphasis on the show’s artwork, which gives the design a much more dynamic feel than contemporaries

‘sodes is a minimally-designed podcast app that attempts to remove the hassle of a download or listening queue, preferring listeners to simply listen as and when. It’s an interesting approach, which works because podcast feeds can quickly become cluttered. ‘sodes simply allows you to search, or add a favorite, and then dip in and out, streaming whenever you have a minute to listen.

It’s a very casual approach to listening – though the complete absence of download capabilities does restrict you to listening mostly on Wi-Fi if you don’t have a large cellular data package.

The player is super-stripped back

However, the design is highly refreshing. It’s mostly black and white, and podcasts are represented by large, colorful logos. It also essentially only provides two sections – the main home feed which will show you a brief overview of your favorited podcasts, any podcasts that you’ve been in the process of listening to, and below that an unplayed feed. The app eschews multiple tabs, opting for this stripped back approach instead, and its directness is pretty effective.

We do have some questions over the search and discovery functionality, though. Despite it showing some top rated shows on the search page that you can jump straight into, these are generally the usual suspects. So, if this app is aimed for more casual listeners or those that don’t know the world of podcasts very well, it’s difficult for them to find podcasts by category, or region. We worry than ‘sodes may keep listeners in the same bubble, led by branded podcasts and big networks, rather than the kind of independent shows that first kickstarted the platform.

The search functionality is limited and doesn’t have category or region settings. However, searching for a genre will return decent results

The great thing about podcasts is that anyone can make one. The worst thing about podcasts is often, no one can find them. In reality, ‘sodes doesn’t really change the face of podcast apps in the way it hopes. It’s well-designed, fast, and easy to use. But you could also say that it only offers the same as others, with a little less.

A truly groundbreaking app would look at AI and algorithms to provide a more personalized experience that doesn’t simply offer the same stuff. We get that many still don’t understand or get podcasts, but there are also many that do and all ‘sodes really offers is a well-designed interface.

That said, if you’ve not yet dabbled much in the world of podcasts, this app could be just what you need. It’s an excellent way to get started, free of the complexities required by more advanced podcast consumers.

Review: 'sodes – minimalist podcast listening
A great, well-designed app but it could still be minimalist without losing key features
For
  • Easy to get started
  • Simple design
  • Good option for light users
Against
  • Search isn't that helpful
  • No offline listening!
3.5Overall Score