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I am surprised that higher capacity storage on phones was not mentioned as a driver of podcast listenership. For me, when I upgraded to a phone that had 32GB of storage around 2014 I was finally able to store mp3s that would download automatically ready for me to listen to along with all the music and photos that we would otherwise fill up our phone storage with. Before this, it was actually pretty hard to be an avid listener of lots of podcasts without having to deal with the hassle of managing your data storage.



I have fond memories when I was a teenager, loading my 80gb iPod video full of podcasts I could listen to on trips. The reason I even got into podcasts back then, was I didn't have any money to buy CDs or mp3s, but I could download as many podcasts as I wanted and it was awesome.


I remember downsampling things to a barely-listenable 32Kbps just so I could fit the maximum amount of content onto 16 or 32 megabyte SmartMedia card in my Diamond Rio.


I suspect you're correct. I find it surprising that people buy flagship phones that don't include an SD card reader. It seems that there's a belief among some handset manufacturers that storage capacity is only relevant for apps since all media is stored in the cloud. Either that or they just want to charge you for that extra storage. Being able to download hours worth of podcasts on an SD card and not worry about storage is fantastic.


> I find it surprising that people buy flagship phones that don't include an SD card reader.

Because most don't come with an SD card reader and there are other features people want besides that. Buying a $1000 phone is all about the trade-offs one is willing to live with.


This is when I used to carry an android phone. I used to worry about that. Then I had to manually move apps to the SD card. Then I had to manage a gallery on my phone and my SD card. Then I had to wait for the memory card to load the apps if I ever restarted my phone. After a point, after I passed 64gb, I didn’t care. I simply wanted something I didn’t have to manage. So I preferred a phone with internal storage. If iPhone started coming with a memory card, I still wouldn’t bother adding one. It just seems like a hassle.

And they are prone to corruption. Never happened to me but I’ve read plenty of horror stories. Why subject myself to another data loss vector?

With the new 256gb capacity phones, it’s never a hassle when it comes to space anymore.


I'll never buy another phone that uses an external SD card. It's fine when I manually copy things to the phone. The problem is that apps handle the SD card inconsistently and poorly.


This is not it.. anecdata I stream all the podcasts I listen to, many of which I actually watch on YouTube.. I have unlimited data or 20gb or something like that..

The "download a podcast/movie" is probably an important RITUAL for a lot of people, but I don't see actual lack of space as a key barrier.


How long have you been doing this though? I started to listen to more podcasts in 2014 when Serial was first released. At that time I did not have unlimited data (I still don't) and I suspect very few people did. I think for the vast majority of listeners at that time, storage was a much bigger factor to ease of listening than generous mobile data caps.


You don't even have to stream. At any given morning before leaving my house I have around 20 podcasts preloaded. Assuming you spend 5 hours a day listening to podcast at 2x speed, and 1mb per minute for the audio, that's still only 600mb. Up to to 1GB to give yourself some options.

Realistically, people listen closer to 2-3 hours a day, and even day, you can preload for a whole week using only 2GB of storage.


This is it. I downloaded every episode of LeVar Burton Reads earlier this week. Over 2GB on top of the 400MB from the other handful I subscribe to. My last phone would complain about insufficient space long before now.


The Nokia E66 (released in 2008) supported microSD cards of up to 8GBs. Together with the Nokia Podcasting app downloading them over Wifi, it didn't feel very different than today.


> LeVar Burton Reads

I'll have to take a look at that one... Is it in a book? It seems like a new reading rainbow...

https://youtu.be/uPqpmSWwuGk


Have you ever wanted a cool uncle/grandpa who tells you good stories? Now you have one!


Wow.. what is Reading Rainbow? I thought Lavar Burton Was a Star trek guy.


As a kid, I thought Lavar Burton was actually blind (because of Lt. La Forge) and thought that was nice of him to memorize the books on Reading Rainbow. My brain still nags me to double check that he isn't blind.


He is, but he also had a show where he tried to encourage kids to read.

Nowadays I think people mostly remember the theme song:

> Take a look, it's in a book, a Reading Rainbow!


Also see this classic from a fundraiser where he reads a "children's book" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBHwmVlP_DE


It was on public broadcasting since around 1983 and was hosted and produced by him.


This is a _really_ good point! I'm trying to find some data on this right now... might have to dig through e.g. Apple's previous phone releases to see trends over time.


This is a good point. Desktop/web clients have existed for a while, but I find that I listen to probably 90% of my podcasts on my smartphone. Prior to owning a phone with a large amount of storage, I just didn't really listen to podcasts (at least nowhere near the amount that I am now).


There was a sort of golden infancy period for podcasts, where if you had a iPod you could fit a ton of them on the spinning drive.


I would never listen to podcast sitting at my computer. 100% of my podcast listening is done while doing chores, walking or taking transit. That's why the rise of smartphones were crucial for the golden age of podcast.




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