Developer: Interlacia, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store
Tubulous Global Social Podcasting - I’m usually up on all the latest trends pertaining to the nebulous “Web 2.0” movement, but the team over at Interlacia has got my attention with their debut application for the iPhone. Tubulous Global Social Podcasting is setting out to create a community around the podcasts that we love to watch and listen to. Is this the next social networking platform we’ve all been waiting for? Here's my two cents...
Podcasts have been a godsend in my life. Because I can freely download and customize the kind of content I want through iTunes, I was able to cut the cord on my Sirius XM radio subscription. No matter the issue or topic, I’ve got a good collection of go-to productions that deliver every time. With my appreciation for the entertainment and knowledge that podcasts can provide, I jumped into the Tubulous Global Social Podcasting app with great excitement.
Tubulous Global Social Podcasting is a tricky idea to describe succinctly, but I’ll try my best here. This application provides a place to discover new podcasts AND share your favorites podcasts with the world as well. Like many other social networking platforms, Tubulous Global Social Podcasting requires you to create an account on your iPhone. After a few minutes, you’ll be selecting a profile picture and hanging out at the main landing page for the application. The main landing page has a list of topics (e.g. Business, Comedy, Education, Health, etc.) that house the podcasts (both audio and video), and almost everything is covered. After selecting a topic and a podcast of interest, the application automagically streams the selection to your phone. Besides the general sections, there is a personalized section (e.g. My Channels) that users can modify to their hearts content.
My Channels is the place where you can jump to your favorite channels or upload a podcast. To upload a podcast to Tubulous, you have to plug in a podcast url so the application can create a channel for it. I’m sure there has to be some great technical explanation behind why it has to be done this way, but I find entering a podcast url incredibly unintuitive. For someone like me that already has a dozen subscriptions to podcasts through iTunes, my expectation was that Tubulous Global Social Podcasting would look at what’s already on my iPhone to ask me what I’d like to share. If this is not technically feasible, there should be some type of built in podcast search functionality to mitigate the hassle of tracking down the right url.
Tubulous Global Social Podcasting is a well-made application that’s setting out to start a revolution. There are more “nice-to-have” social networking bulleted features (e.g. Twitter support, friends lists, GPS, etc.) than I can't possibly fully detail in the confines of this review. For more details on the full set of features, check out Tubulous Global Social Podcasting application description page on the App Store.
The biggest impression I’m left with is that this revolution is being started on the wrong piece of hardware and, in turn, it’s fundamentally flawed. An idea this big should have launched on a desktop-optimized website. Because the iPhone is hamstrung with mediocre battery life and the slow common denominator of the EDGE wireless network, the kind of exploration that’s encouraged with Tubulous Global Social Podcasting isn’t practical in the real world. Streaming audio and video always takes a substantial chunk out of the battery, and I suspect many other users would prefer the more efficient “download and sync” action to get content of interest, on their iPhone.
I’ve got a ton of respect for the Interlacia and what they’re trying to accomplish here, but I don’t suspect that Tubulous Global Social Podcasting catch fire with podcast enthusiasts everywhere. Keep at it guys...