Why I can’t listen to FM radio on my smartphone?

Radio remains one of the most important means of communication in all history, but surprisingly many of smartphones currently marketed not let us listen to FM radio natively. What is the problem?

The answer is simple: neither manufacturers nor the operators have no interest in offering this capability. It is curious, considering that virtually all smartphones sold in the market have a chip FM radio. Yet manufacturers and operators the “castrate” for one purpose: we spend our money on data charges with blessed? Broadcasts via streaming and podcasts.

FM radio

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Apple, one of the major players in the conspiracy

The Pilot organization brings together a group of experts who advocate radio broadcasts broadcast, and a report released them and based on data from ABI Research revealed how US in 2015 97% of mobile phones sold there have activated chip.

The problem is that all of them only 34% have that enabled users to listen to the radio on their device chip. 61%, it is known to have the FM chip but have not activated there even more striking: 78% of all those phones are castrated Apple iPhone.

This is not the only firm that blocks that option, of course: other greats like Samsung and LG also often block the chip, while HTC and Motorola fortunately usually offer that option support FM radio on their devices without problems.

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) has tried to change the situation in the United States with organization like NPR or Nextradio, and has already achieved a modest success in getting several operators have enabled this possibility. Sprint already offers that option, while AT & T, T-Mobile Blu or are in the process of doing so in various Android devices they sell.

However, Apple does not comment on the matter despite efforts to free the company that option and take over a year to occur. Instead, Apple users as many of Android- must rely on horrific external modules to access this option without having to listen to the radio via the Internet.

Streaming, Blessing or Nightmare?

Apps like Spotify have become the “fashion” for users who do not even complained about not being able to use a FM chip manufacturers intentionally block. The radio via streaming has made all traditional broadcasters also attend as an alternative solution internet, almost giving thanks for having available an alternative that is a conviction for users.

It is for two reasons: first, to consume and deplete your monthly data plans -something that feeds the coffers of the operators, of course. The second, streaming applications have a noticeable impact on the autonomy of the batteries. According to Jeff Smulyan, NAB spokesman explained that ” listen via streaming the battery runs three to five times faster than listen to the same content through the FM radio chip .”

It is true that services such as Spotify allow access to options that conventional radio does not offer, but for many users access to FM radio lifetime would be especially interesting because they listen conventional broadcasters and even use services like Spotify or that Apple Music with which Apple can defend more than ever its position to block FM radio chip which is present in the iPhone.

That’s the excuse of Apple and other manufacturers that block these chips, “more and more people listen to online broadcasts via streaming,” say manufacturers like Samsung, indicating already years ago that “our studies show a shift towards digital broadcasting, with a specific focus on listening to music content on social networks or YouTube.”

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Disabling the FM radio chip on our devices has led some developers try to offer viable alternatives. One of the best known is TuneIn Radio, an application that simply grouping thousands of radio stations and podcasts to offer them the user comfortably. The problem, of course, is that it works through streaming, so the data consumption is there.

The organization FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org leads also promoting the use of NextRadio, an application that enables this feature in 71 different smartphones and even connect to the internet does to show album covers of artists or song details. According to its managers, this application “uses less than 20% of the data used by the Internet radio streaming”.

Unfortunately, the terminal support is very limited and so far, what seems clear is that many manufacturers still do not offer that option at its terminals. They press operators to those manufacturers and thus boost consumption data? That conspiracy theory could make much sense but even on terminals that are sold freed like my OnePlus One- chip FM radio, even being present, you cannot use even with custom ROMs trying to solve the problem: the chip is not even wired with taking headphones act as an antenna usually in these cases.

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