Initial Thoughts on the Rojas-Winer-Calacanis Podcast Device

I’ve been pondering the dedicated podcast devices tossed around by Rojas-Winer-Calacanis. The power and simplicity of it are quite attractive.

I’m on board with the following:

  • Data Input/Output: Wifi. No need for anything else.
  • Supported Media Formats: MP3, Ogg Vorbis, anything else open & cheap.
  • Pre-selling a small initial run as financing.

As an interface designer and podcaster, the biggest challenge I see in this device is the interaction to discover and subscribe to podcasts.

Even today, this process is fairly complex . The attempts I’ve seen to simplify it only add to the problem (TiVo, iTunes, etc) by creating a proprietary, artificially restricted silo.

Some initial thoughts:

  • A default link to the podcast.opml.org directory and Share Your OPML on some
  • A custom keypad specialized for RSS subscription. Maybe keys for ‘org/com/net’, etc. I’d be unfortunate to see a full-size keypad or a constrained phone keypad – neither of those work great for mobile devices.
  • Since we’re using WiFi, this device could have a web server baked-in and subscriptions managed through a web browser accessed from another computer. Even remotely – so others could recommend podcasts to their friends (via OPML?).

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