AT&T will require working FM radios in its Android phones (update: just a request)

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AT&T Android Phones Will Have Activate FM Radio Chips From 2016.

Like many consumers, I’ve mostly stopped listening to the radio — mainly because I rarely drive anymore and many of my favorite shows are available as online podcasts.

FM radio reduces the need for streaming audio if you’re not picky about content, and it can be an important source of news during emergencies, when data networks might be down or oversaturated. Many might not be aware that some of these handsets have a radio that’s deactivated by the handset manufacturer mostly for business and cost reasons.

That’s because starting with every new Android phone it sells in 2016, AT&T will be activating the receiver inside that’s designed to tap into FM signals. According to the NAB, having active FM reception will open up features such as song tagging and other interactions that are popular with younger listeners. RAB President and CEO Erica Farber said of the deal, “The continued integration and adoption of NextRadio by yet another telecommunication company is proof positive radio’s place continues in next generation smartphones and mobile devices and that is good news for our listeners and our advertisers”. In a major shift from tradition AT&T has promised to “light up” the FM radio chip inside all Android smartphones that it sells starting next year. Now AT&T is the latest telecom company to add support for FM radio, partnering with the company NextRadio to offer access to radio programs that come to you over the traditional airwaves rather than the Internet.

NextRadio is an app that adds an FM tuner to your smartphone, letting you select and change channels. “This is a big milestone for the radio industry,” said NextRadio in a statement, “and shows working together and supporting this initiative is paying off.” Radio stations have been asking regulators to make turning on FM chips a mandatory requirement for cellular service providers. NextRadio worked with Sprint to get it to support FM activations back in 2013, so this isn’t unprecedented; radio activation is also something that NPR and the National Association of Broadcasters have been pushing for. This combined with Apple bringing about their new and quite popular Beats One 24-hour live radio station seem to be showing a shift back towards live radio in the technology world.

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