AT&T urges Android smartphone makers to enable FM radio chips

By Shawn Knight
Jul 29, 2015
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  1. AT&T is on par to become the next major wireless provider to support FM radio. Starting next year, all Android smartphones the carrier sells will arrive with their internal FM radio listed as a device specification.

    It's worth pointing out that it’s the handset makers – not wireless carriers – that are required to flip the unused FM radio chips on. Getting AT&T on board will increase the probability of OEMs doing so.

    The move (if successful) will allow smartphone users to tune into local radio stations just as they would in their vehicle or at home, giving them access to local news, entertainment and weather updates.

    FM radio can also serve as a lifeline in case of emergencies. This is especially important for those living in regions prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or other oft-occurring natural disasters that have the potential to render cell towers useless.

    There are other reasons to use FM radio over streaming apps as well. Jeff Smulyan, Emmis Communications CEO, points out that traditional streaming apps can drain your smartphone’s battery three to five times faster versus listening to FM radio. What’s more, FM is absolutely free whereas most streaming music services command a monthly fee and may eat into your monthly data allotment.

    National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith said the move marks a new beginning in mobile technology with the agreement by a global brand, AT&T, to light up the FM receiver chips in all of its future Android smartphones. Smith added that through the use of apps like NextRadio, listeners will also enjoy song tagging and interactivity features that have become increasing popular with younger listeners.

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  2. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Maniac Posts: 475   +153

    I'm surprised about this in many aspects, it is like talking about the qualities of drinking potable water from a natural source instead of buying soda.
  3. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 624   +146

    I remember FM way back in the 60's. It was great to have jocks playing music that was unavailable anywhere else. Then it changed, as it had to for survival. Generally the stations made money but the mass market processed american bullshit that spewed forth wasn't the same and something was lost. Then the internet came along and the same thing happened. Now I can listen to crap radio on the crap internet (which I still love). But music? It is really bad these days and I don't listen to it at all.
  4. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 638   +56

    Hmmm...last device that I had that had FM Radio was a Zune 80GB. I bought it at the time because it was the only reasonable mp3 player with a good screen size, hard drive size (yeah flash memory was still too new and very expensive) and of course FM Radio. No other mp3 player on the market could compare chiefly because they 1) were too expensive for what you got *cough*apple*cough, 2) had small screens, 3) No FM.

    Alas, I have gone far too long without regular FM. For all I care traditional use of commercial FM radio can die a horrible slow death. I welcome new applications and adaptations for the FM Radio bands. Modern technology can do wonderful things with the older time tested stuff.
  5. MHammett

    MHammett TS Rookie

    I've always heard that it's the carriers that request the FM radio turned off, hence why Sprint phones have had them turned on.

    Much more useful to me is an integrated FM transmitter than an FM receiver.

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