I’ll start with a little background.
Mediafly lets you subscribe to various podcasts from around the Interweb straight from your device, no need to hook it up to a computer, all updates are over the air, it can play video and audio. It downloads and lets you stream shows. It even remembers the position for every episode you start (almost). Heaven! or so I thought…
If you have been following me on Twitter or read any previous article I wrote about consuming media on my Android phone you’ll know that Ive been looking for that great app that will let me listen to my podcasts (and hopefully my music but lets not go there) with as little hassle as possible.
Recently I posted on Twitter that I stopped using the Mediafly app on my Galaxy S Android (Froyo) phone.
Very shortly after writing my Twitter post I received a reply from an employee of Mediafly asking what made me finally give it up and I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about it here.
So even though I thought there was great potential to Mediafly I immediately noticed issues and problems that unfortunately haven’t been addressed yet, even after two updates to the application since I started using it.
– It’s slow! It takes too long to load the first time. For example when you first open the app you see a message saying its “cleaning old files”. Do I care? no! You can clean all the old files you want after I started listening to my show or better yet, when I close the app.
– It’s slow! Moving between screens is a nightmare, in slow motion! Almost every time you click a button you get to see a big gray pop-up that says “Loading…”. Even when its just going back to a screen you came from. Why does it take so long to show me a screen already loaded! And I don’t care about the technical explanation, I’m the user and I just want to be able to get to my podcast as quickly as possible.
– It’s slow! Hitting the pause button can sometimes take anywhere between 2 and 6-7 seconds! Are you kidding me??? Just pause the damn thing! don’t make me wait…
– After the last update to the app which was meant to allow it to work better in bad or no connection environments, which it did, receiving new episodes became an almost impossible feat. My channels would simply not update no matter how many times I: restarted the app, restarted the phone, reinstalled the app(!).
– Sometimes, channels will stop receiving new episodes. There will be new episodes, I could see them when searching but the channel will just not get them… I would have to go through the ridiculously complicated process of adding the channel to my list again just to receive new episodes.
– The auto-update feature simply doesn’t work. First of all I don’t understand why you would need to specify the times for the update to occur at. If I say I want auto-update that means I want new episodes when they are released. The settings page for that shows you a list of the 24 hours in the day and if you want to select all you have to do it one by one. It doesn’t make sense and it simply doesn’t work.
On top of this there is no “Update All” button so to manage to get a new episode I would have to open each channel and hope that the application will kindly start downloading…
– This next one isn’t really the reason to stop using the app but I see so many players making this mistake I just have to comment about it. The player’s buttons are so small! Everyone, this is a touch device used by people with fingers. Make the buttons BIGGER! Dont squeeze 6 or 8 tiny buttons into a row only a few pixels high! What you get from this is a bunch of frustrated users that keep hitting the forward button instead of the play…
I think these are reasons enough for deserting Mediafly. Unfortunately, there is no one app that does it better. So I’m back to using ISyncr Wifi together with various different players on the phone and iTunes on my PC for now.
Perhaps I’ll give DoubleTwist another try. Their player is really good (Big-ass buttons!) but I need to get over the mental block of paying for the Wifi syncing feature.