Most of the OEM chipsets for a lot of devices include FM capability, though many manufacturers tend to turn off the radio as a ploy to save on costs. That’s going to change for all Android phones on AT&T starting next year, according to a report on RadioWorld.com.
The report says that the carrier will add FM radio chips as a mandatory specification for all Android devices, and future Android phones will need to offer FM support if they want to run on its network. This implies users will be able to listen to live radio on their devices anywhere without consuming any data.
The report further claims that AT&T will work together with manufacturers to activate FM radios that are already there in current AT&T phones.
“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,” reads a statement issued by National Association of Broadcasters, the trade body for radio and television broadcasting in the United States. Research indicates that customers want FM radio on their smartphones, as they’ll listen to it when the feature is activated, says the report.
NAB, Emmis, and similar companies seem rather elated with the new move, and would lobby AT&T to activate FM hardware already found on phones. The move could also be a ploy to sort of subdue the rise of digital music streaming, which can jeopardize their whole FM business model. AT&T can benefit out of this by promoting free radio on their phones while for customers it could be a viable alternative to paid music streaming services.