Who said that the iPod can only be used as a music player? Pod2Go is here to transform your iPod from a mere music player and file storage gadget to a (sort of) PDA. Pod2Go comes with 12 categories of information that you can sync on your iPod. The first one is RSS/RDF news. There, you can pick one of the 200+ preconfigured news sites’ newsfeeds or add your own, custom one.
On the Weather category, you can choose between two servers for US city support or for worldwide support. I easily found my Greek town using the second server, while the first server provides my local weather here in US.
On the third category, we got movies. You enter your zip code, you select a theater or more, and Pod2Go will sync for you all available movies that play on that theater and their times. Quite handy if you want to impress your girlfriend with your knowledge of local movies on Saturday night. 😉
Fourth category is stock support. You enter a stock symbol and you will get quite some information about it. Same goes for your daily horoscope on the fifth category. Now, I don’t really believe in horoscopes, but having your iPod telling you the “future”, is quite cool.
Next, we got Lyrics support. You can download the lyrics of any song found on your iTunes library, as long as the mp3 tag information is 100% correct. If not, the two lyrics servers will report that they can’t find the song you requested.
Next up we got “Text” support. This can be in the form of stickies, small notes, real document files or web pages. If you feel like reading Linux how-tos for example, you can!
Then, there’s Directions. You can include full directions from point A to Point B that’s either in North America or in 12 European countries. Athens, Greece is not one of them, unfortunately for me. Also, the form needs to be filled up completely, address, city, state and zip code. If you only have part of the address, or don’t have the zip code, the service won’t work.
On the next category we have Application syncing. Pod2Go would sync your Address Book, your iCal, Mail, Safari bookmarks and stickies. A useful option if you use all these Mac OS X applications.
A great feature of Pod2Go is backup support. You can point Pod2Go to a specific folder and the application will back it up on your iPod. Useful not only for backup, but also if your $HOME folder is not under /Users/ and if you move your home folder from home to work, or from one computer to another (there are some people who do just that with their iPods, you can change the default location of your $HOME using the NetInfoManager).
Next up are Podcasts. Too bad that this feature doesn’t really work very well. Sometimes the mp3 files are not synced in the iPod, and also I can’t seem to be able to play them on the app itself (there is a “play” button which is greyed out). Podcasts & videocasts seem to be the next big thing of blogging, so hopefully the app will fix any remaining issues.
The last feature is “Launcher”. Each time you sync your iPod you can tell Pod2Go to launch a specific application, or an Applescript to do a specific job on the device. I don’t see this feature used by many users though.
Pod2Go places a tray icon on OSX’s notification area too, so there’s no reason to have the app open at all times. You can do a “quick sync” for only one of the categories you might need, or all of them. The tray icon also gives you the option to eject the mounted iPod.
On the preference panel of Pod2Go you can tell the app to sync automatically when the iPod gets connected to your Mac, or on a pre-scheduled time. You can also tell it specifically what to sync on each one of the scheduled time (e.g. “on the 3 PM scheduled syncing, only do news sync”). Additionally, you can tell Pod2Go where to place all this information inside the iPod (normally under Extras/Notes/Pod2Go/).
This is possibly the best third party application ever created for the iPod. It gives the iPod some PDA qualities and makes it way more useful. The application is good looking, it has a good usability, it’s stable. If I had one feature request, it would be to format the synced text in a better way e.g. to use bold for the news subjects and normal text for the actual news text, so reading would be more pleasurable. Overall, this application definitely worth $12 and it’s a must-have if you have an iPod but no PDA.