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Cellphones Communications Android Network Hardware Technology

Future Samsung Phones Will Have a Working FM Radio Chip (androidpolice.com) 215

A few months ago, LG announced a partnership with NextRadio to unlock the FM chip in its smartphones. Now, Samsung is doing the same. Android Police reports: NextRadio made the announcement, rightly explaining that FM radio is essential in areas with low connectivity and in emergency and disaster situations where a connection might be difficult to obtain or maintain and where access to information could be a matter of life and death. With the chip unlocked, users will be able to listen to local radio on their phone using the NextRadio Android app. The press release mentions that "upcoming [Samsung] smartphone models in the U.S. and Canada" will have the FM chip unlocked, however I did find several existing Samsung devices with their FM chip enabled on NextRadio's site.

Future Samsung Phones Will Have a Working FM Radio Chip

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  • antenna (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mschoolbus ( 627182 ) <travisriley AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:32PM (#55905323)
    for antenna, just plugin your headph..... crap.
    • Ummm...OK [independent.co.uk].
    • for antenna, just plugin your headph..... crap.

      Samsung phones have them, at least for this year

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:35PM (#55905335)

    Super!

    (Apart from that, why the FUCK was that locked in the first place and who was benefiting from that an/or who paid them to have it off ????)

    • Re:One Word: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:42PM (#55905373)
      I think the carriers wanted people listening to streaming services using their data plans.
      • by no-body ( 127863 )

        OK, that may be the reason, but the manufacturer of a cell is not really related to the service suppliers or - we use your phones to con our customer to buy them when you turn off the FM chip..

        Who wins there and who looses. Seems the 2. part is getting more and more overhand and the abuse increases.

        Really gotta put a stop on this, the only goal and focus here is $$'s, other values are gone out the window...

      • I think the carriers wanted people listening to streaming services using their data plans.

        That's what I do. Generally, the sound quality is much better than FM, especially when walking between buildings.

    • Oh, I couldn't guess oh, wait:

      Slacker Radio
      RadioTunes
      Jango
      AccuRadio
      Others [wondershare.com].

      Top 25 Free Internet Radio Sites to Stream Music at Ease

    • Re:One Word: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kriston ( 7886 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @11:15PM (#55906013) Homepage Journal

      The real reason is less interesting. The FM radio needs a reasonably long antenna to work, so wired headphones are required. Market research supposedly showed that nobody wanted to have an FM radio in their mobile phone.

      Pretty much every mobile phone sold since the late 1990s has had a fully implemented, but disabled, FM radio chipset but no provisions for an antenna and no way to turn it on.

      • Re:One Word: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@w[ ]d3.net ['orl' in gap]> on Thursday January 11, 2018 @01:11AM (#55906277) Homepage Journal

        Seems to have been a US thing. A lot of phones released in Europe and the US differed in the mobile chipset (bands, GSM/CDMA) and that the FM radio was available here.

        More recently phones have had world band chipsets so Europe gets disabled FM as well.

      • What about HD Radio? Does HD radio require the same kind of antenna as FM radio? I'd like to see HD radio on cell phones instead of vanilla FM, because there are a lot more station choices. I've got an old MP3 player that has HD radio and it gets all the local FM stations and a lot more. Great quality, too.

        I'm not sure if there's HD in the rural areas, though. I live in what would be a rural area, except we've got tens of thousands of students here nine months of the year, so there's very good broadcas

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          What about HD Radio? Does HD radio require the same kind of antenna as FM radio? I'd like to see HD radio on cell phones instead of vanilla FM, because there are a lot more station choices. I've got an old MP3 player that has HD radio and it gets all the local FM stations and a lot more. Great quality, too.

          HD Radio requires the same antenna, it uses the same bands after all. But the problem is HD radio (it doesn't stand for "high definition", it stands for "hybrid digital" and refers to the fact that the st

          • The problem with HD radio is it requires a proprietary chip as it's using a proprietary codec (

            Ah, that's definitely a problem. I had no idea.

            As for general FM radio, I don't care. Most of the FM band is Clear Channel crap, which is generally why most people don't care for it.

            I've been lucky enough to have lived either in big cities or college towns that have good FM stations outside the mainstream. But yeah, you get into rural America and you're limited to three types of FM stations: Country, Western,

      • The real reason is less interesting. The FM radio needs a reasonably long antenna to work, so wired headphones are required. Market research supposedly showed that nobody wanted to have an FM radio in their mobile phone.

        Pretty much every mobile phone sold since the late 1990s has had a fully implemented, but disabled, FM radio chipset but no provisions for an antenna and no way to turn it on.

        Huh? Every smart phone I've had, starting with the 2012 Google Galaxy Nexus, has had a working FM radio.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      if they unlock it wtf for do you need an app for it though? can't they have a tuner app built in..

    • The real real reason was that many years ago when they were designing the multiband radios they didn't know what features the future would want and they had existing IP blocks for the FM radio. And it only takes a tiny bit of space on the chip. So the chips were designed with the feature.

      But these chips were mostly designed years before the cell phones using them finally made it to the masses, and the carriers didn't care about that feature, they never asked for it, it was just an extra thing the chip could

  • Yeah, well OK (Score:4, Interesting)

    by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:39PM (#55905353)

    That's nice but if the carriers disable it (I'm looking at you, Verizon) what's the point?

    • That's nice but if the carriers disable it (I'm looking at you, Verizon) what's the point?

      Get unlocked, unsubsidized phone. You'll get faster update as well

    • A common question posed to Verizon subscribers.
    • You could try going for a real carrier rather than a toy cellphone company whose service sounds like it's delivered through a rubber hose, and that only sells locked down toy cellphones.

      Try at&t or T-Mobile. They sell the real thing.

      • by Kazymyr ( 190114 )

        Sprint too. My Sprint LG V20 has FM unlocked. Not rooted or modified in any way, it came with FM out of the box.

    • My Galaxy S7 works with NextRadio. It's rooted, but I have the standard VZW-provided OS still loaded on it.
  • I want a feature where I can enter my callsign, and use it on HAM bands! Sure, I can use Hamsphere, or one of my handhelds, but if I have an FM chip, I want to actually use it.
    • I want a feature where I can enter my callsign, and use it on HAM bands!

      Pretty close... [wordpress.com]

    • Of course the bandwidth filters between broadcast FM and ham are completely different (100kHz broadcast vs. 12500 Hzfor NBFM ham/public service voice).
    • Nice, but unless you can attach some kind of reasonable antenna for transmitting what's the point? You will have to be standing directly on top of the repeater to get the squelch to open.
    • The FM radio chip will have a hard time getting to 2m, if it could even do narrowband. You're thinking of maybe this? [ruggedcall.com]
    • OK, but I wonder where you're going to put that antenna...
  • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:52PM (#55905437) Journal

    I just tried it on my Samsung Galaxy S5, and it works, but it appears to be using WiFi. How do I know if it's using the FM chip?

  • ... broadcasting is easy peasy for a lot of techs like ham radio operators and Radio Shack project dweebs.

    This could be the answer to mesh networking.

    That will be the "next radio" step.

  • At least so far, using headphone jack / headphones for the antenna for FM is the only way. I rag on Samsung for alot of things, but this is really cool and makes me want their smartphone (having batteries that resist degradation s8 onward and SamsungPay working at registers that don't take normal wireless payments are two others).
  • A bit late (Score:4, Informative)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @09:29PM (#55905637)

    Norway has already abandoned FM completely, the rest of Europe not far behind.

    • Re:A bit late (Score:5, Informative)

      by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @04:37AM (#55906611)

      You are generalising. Introduction of DAB radio is not the same thing as choosing to abandon FM radio. Most of Eastern and Central Europe don't have any DAB broadcasts at all and most of the others are only doing trials.
      Sweden has decided not to discontinue FM radio broadcasts for the time being after strong objections from the Ministry of Defence (emergency broadcasts) and because of lack of customer demand for DAB radio.

      People tend to instead replace their FM radios with personalised streaming services on their cell phones, for which there is also more commercial interest.

      DAB does not offer any tangible benefits over mobile streaming and FM. In good conditions, DAB could provide either better audio quality or more channels than FM, but not both.
      In bad conditions, weak reception of emergency broadcasts over FM can still be intelligible where as the same over DAB would just cut off.

    • Not completely. Local radio stations will still be on FM for a few years more.
  • ... via Simple Data.

    Eavesdropping on what station(s) you prefer, what genre music you like, you know ... just like apps do now and stuff.

  • by dohzer ( 867770 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @10:05PM (#55905767) Homepage

    This would be really handy. If I want to listen to the radio commentary at my local sporting games, the streaming services are 30 - 60 seconds delayed.
    They force non-commercial broadcasters to route through their app if they want to stream, but delay it so you can't stream it "live" and commercial-free over the top of the TV broadcast.

    But the AM/FM broadcasts are instantaneous, so I always have a pocket AM/FM radio with me at the game.
    Carrying one less thing would suit me fine.

  • ...which frequencies? Presumably everything from 88MHz-108MHz, but maybe also NOAA weather broadcasts? (~160MHz)
  • is that they are turning on the analog FM for people just when countries are turning it off and switching to digital FM. /s

  • But the followup questions are:

    1) Analog, digital, or both?
    2) And if not also digital, why not?

  • by yayoubetcha ( 893774 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @11:40PM (#55906079)

    What's the big deal? Yes, I have to plug headphones in as an antenna, but I can listed either with headphones or the phone's speaker. It is unlocked. Why the hell should it be? It's a fucking radio.

    • by dargaud ( 518470 )
      I was thinking the same. I've had Samsung, LG, Wiko, Archos, HTC and other cell phones and all of them have had a working FM radio. I use it daily and find it is one of the required selling points.
    • by twosat ( 1414337 )

      For less than 80 New Zealand dollars I can listen to FM radio on these two feature phones without using headphones as antennas. https://www.thewarehouse.co.nz... [thewarehouse.co.nz] https://www.thewarehouse.co.nz... [thewarehouse.co.nz]

    • My Galaxy S2 had an FM chip and a free FM application built in, made by Samsung itself. My Moto G2 has FM too, my Zenfone2 too. What's the big deal? It's because people who buy $1000 phone will be happy to pay for data and stream music, while people who buy (unlocked) mid range phone, like me, sometimes does not have data plan so the FM is free to use, it's marketing?

  • Will be interesting to see what Apple does. Will they follow in the footsteps of LG & Samsung? Apple has always been reluctant to include a radio in their iPhone that would compete with Apple Music and Store.
  • This is technology that basically has been around since the steam age. In terms of "feasible and mature" it's way off the carts compared to anything else. I remember building battery-less radio receivers as an 8 year old. Adding radio receivers to modern smartphones is trivial and I personally wouldn't mind if lawmakers made it mandatory for vendors to do this. For people in distress and desaster zones we can only hope that vendors come to some sort of gentleman's agreement to build radios in by default. Th

  • With FM being phased out [radioworld.com], albeit very slowly, whouldn't they be better including DAB or long-wave AM (which is used for things like world service and reaches valleys, etc. that other broadcasts don't)?
  • I think my last 5 phones have had FM receivers, but I don't use it because I don't like any of the stations here. I basically stopped listening to FM radio years ago when I had had enough of the narcissistic hosts. Plus I lost my taste in pop music.

    The music station I do listen to now is available on DAB, though. But that hasn't taken off as a smartphone trick yet. It doesn't help that DAB coverage is way worse than FM. Especially in things like building penetration or train tunnels (where it completely fai

  • About 6 years ago, a lot of candy bar style phones had a built-in FM radio tuner. Normally you had to plug in a set of headphones to act as an antenna. And that begs the question how they intend to get adequate reception if they remove the earphone jack.
  • Wait, what non-Apple phone produced within the past fifteen years doesn't come with an FM radio?

    Of course many need a headphone plugged in to act as an antenna but a few, such as the Alcatel Pop, don't.

    • You must be European... in USA the past 15 years were the years of phone locked to death with features removed. Of course the $2 WiFi/BT chip also support FM, but it was disabled so people had to pay data to stream music.

  • They actually took time to make an announcement? What a joke.

  • My HTC M7 had an unlocked FM chip. So did the M8.

    I did know of some carriers that locked the chip in various phones. Oh yea, my Sensation 4G did also.

    But My U11 doesn't have an FM chip, which is in the middle of the list of reasons why I probably have purchased my last HTC phone. Time to move on to another manufacturer, with different annoyances, just to break an 8 year streak of HTC highs and lows.

  • Come on guys, add DAB. Or is that on the same slow track as IPv6?

    There's no demand? You mean there's no device to use the technology and create the market demand - or it costs crazy amounts, making nobody any money because nobody is buying it until patents expire.

  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @01:17PM (#55909143)
    When I was in Seoul a few years ago I was surprised to learn that almost all smartphones in Korea include an integrated TV tuner, complete with antenna.

    This wasn't packet data carried over their data plans - This was OTA broadcast-TV.

    You could see all these people commuting on the train watching broadcast TV - Even on flip-phones.

    Picture:

    http://modernseoul.files.wordp... [wordpress.com]

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