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AT&T will Activate the FM Chip in Android Phones

Wait: there’s an FM chip in cell phones? Yep. It’s a little sliver of silicon that allows a cell phone to receive broadcasts. And apparently, it’s been there all along. But no one has ever turned it on.

Enter Nextradio, a company who believes that mobile phones should be capable of acting as old-fashioned radios. Well, not so old-fashioned, really. Until I saw a demonstration of what the FM chip could do–Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan presented it–I thought this whole idea was silly. It’s not. It’s actually pretty damn cool.

All Access Radio Group picks up the story.

AT&T is the latest phone carrier to include FM chip activation, agreeing to a no-cost deal with NEXTRADIO for their 2016 ANDROID smartphone device specifications. And, the existing SPRINT deal remains active and in place.

In response to the announcement, NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH said, “Today marks a new beginning in mobile technology with the agreement by a global iconic brand, AT&T, to light up the FM receiver chips in all of its future ANDROID smartphones. With this decision, AT&T’s customers become the biggest beneficiaries, giving them access to local radio news, entertainment, weather, and failsafe emergency alert connectivity. With access to apps like NEXTRADIO, AT&T’s listeners will also enjoy song tagging and interactivity features that have become increasingly popular with younger listeners. AMERICA’s broadcasters salute AT&T’s decision to serve its customers through collaboration with AMERICA’s local radio stations. Bravo!”

Read more here. I wonder if any telco in Canada will do the same?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38293 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “AT&T will Activate the FM Chip in Android Phones

    • The broadcast industry is already all over this. It may just be a matter of time.

  • Strange, HTC touts an FM receiver in at least some of their phones, I wonder how that differs from this?


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