American broadcasters turn up the volume on misguided campaign to enable FM tuners in smartphonesMy smart phone cost a small fraction of an Apple iphone, and it has a radio. So do all my non-Apple ipods.
By Sam Oliver
Monday, April 20, 2015, 11:12 am PT (02:12 pm ET)
Millions of consumers have switched off their radios in favor of music and commentary streamed over the internet, a trend that many in the terrestrial broadcast industry allege has been bolstered by device makers and wireless carriers who have conspired to disable built-in radio receivers in a bid to sell more expensive data packages.
Apple's iPod nano includes an FM receiver, but the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch don't.
Most smartphones — and indeed other connected devices, like tablets — ship with one of a handful of universal wireless communications chips inside, usually made by companies like Broadcom or Murata. They combine multi-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in a single package, reducing size and increasing efficiency.
In many cases, these chips also pack a third over-the-air option: an FM tuner.
While many low-end devices take advantage of this to tick yet another feature checkbox, flagship smartphones rarely enable it. Apple's iPhone has never shipped with the ability to natively receive FM broadcasts despite having a built-in tuner, and Samsung largely dropped it from the Galaxy lineup after the Galaxy S3. HTC's One M9 does come with the feature, as do some Windows Phone models.
The android apps for listening to the radio are pretty terrible. NextRadio works great for some stations, but it only lets you listen to the station that are paying a fee to the app maker. The built-in app does not work.
Radios are getting harder to use. I bought two used cars with after-market radios, and both were inexplicably difficult to use. Both were still running a demo on the display, as the manufacturer apparently intended that the user turn that off after installation, but the user never figured out how.
I used to occasionally look at after-market car radios to buy, but I could never find one to meet basic requirements. Must be easy to use without a manual. Must be easy to scroll thru the dial to find radio stations. Must be easy to play mp3 music.
Even cheap clock-radios have gotten difficult to use.