I FINALLY found the (near) perfect MP3 player to listen to podcasts: The RIO Forge 512. The feature you really need is bookmarks. The podcasts I listen to range from 20 minutes to a couple hours. Some are weekly and some are daily. If you are bouncing between different ones, you don’t really want to scan thru it to find where you left off. Thus, the real need for good bookmarks.
I tried to use my Palm TX, but you can’t really fully operate it one-handed–necessary when driving. (Note: The closest Palm app I found with good bookmarks was mOcean.)
RIO seems to be lagging behind in MP3 player development, but their Forge is still a nice device. It shows up as a removable USB drive and you just copy the files over. No need to install iTunes-like applications. I can also plug a 2GB SD card in for additional storage, but since I’ll only use for podcasts, 512MB should be enuf. It has rubberized edges and seems pretty rugged. The RIO store had refurbs for only $49. The only cons I have are the non-color display and the AAA battery. I’m much rather have a lithium ion battery that recharged with USB.
If the AAA battery becomes an issue, I may upgrade to a Creative Zen V, but I’m kinda holding out for the upcoming Sandisk Sansa Connect. Not sure about it’s bookmarking capabilities, but its a WiFi Napster-supporting player that looks pretty cool. The Forge is just something to get me by until the Connect comes out. Of course, if the Connect has lame bookmarking, the Forge may be permanent.