Jack Wallen takes a look at how to install and use Pocket, a free Android application that allows you to read content and watch videos offline.
When you have a tablet that only has Wi-Fi, there are times when you want to save reading/viewing material for later perusing. Or maybe you have Wi-Fi and 4G LTE and are about to board a plane and need to make sure you have plenty to read for that flight. To do this, you need a handy tablet app that enables you to view offline content easily and reliably. That tool is Pocket.
Pocket allows you to:
Combined with your normal method of saving pages on your Android tablet, Pocket gives you the perfect addition to making sure you can view everything you need, when you need. Let's take a look at how this handy application is installed and used.
First, you need an account with Pocket. The account and the app are free. Pocket also offers browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. With your account, you can add pocket content from you desktop browser, which will automatically sync to your tablet for offline viewing.
As with most Android tablet applications, the installation is simple from within the Google Play Store. Here are the steps:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for "pocket" (no quotes)
- Tap the entry for Pocket
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept & download
Once installed, the app launcher can be found within the app drawer.
UsageWhen you first launch Pocket, you'll be required to create a new account (Figure A). Figure A
Pocket sign up, as seen on the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Once you've signed up for your account, you're ready to begin using Pocket.From the main Pocket window (Figure B), you can access all of the content you have Pocketed. If you tap on a Pocketed web page, it will open from within Pocket itself. If you open a video, it will give you options on how to open it, depending on what app you used to Pocket the content. For example, If you used YouTube, you'll be offered the YouTube app and a browser as options for opening the Pocketed content. Figure B
Yes, that is me and that is a Red Hat tattoo.
But how do you get content saved? Let's walk through this simple process.
Let's save one of my recent open source blogs on TechRepublic. Here's how it's done:
- Open up the default browser on your Android tablet
- Go to my article Ubuntu Unity: A beginner's walk-through
- From the browser menu (top right corner), tap Share page
- Select Add to Pocket from the list (Figure C)
If the Add to Pocket option doesn't appear, you may have to tap "Show All" first.
A small popup will appear indicating your content is being saved to Pocket. Once that popup goes away, the content is ready for offline viewing.
To view the content, go back to the main Pocket window and tap the content you want to view. As I mentioned earlier, how the content opens will depend on what the content is. If you're viewing a video saved from YouTube, you might be surprised that the YouTube app must open for the viewing of the content. I did a test to check to make sure this was, truly, offline content by placing the tablet in Airplane mode and then opening up a video saved from YouTube. The video played seamlessly, thus proving the content was, in fact, offline.
You can also add tags to Pocketed content for easier searching. Just follow these steps:
- Open up the Pocket application
- From the main window, long-press a piece of content to reveal a hidden sidebar
- Tap on the top icon in that sidebar
- In the resulting window (Figure D), tap the New button
- Type a tag, and tap Add
- Repeat the process until you have a sufficient set of tags
Tap the upper left icon in the overlay to dismiss the Add Tags window.
With tags added, you can then enter the tags in the search bar in the main window to filter your content.
If you're looking for a solid tool to enable better offline reading of content on your tablet, Pocket is a great solution. Pocket is easy to use, reliable, and free... what more could you ask for?