The makers of the NextRadio app recently announced that Samsung will be enabling the FM receiver chip on future smartphones. The phones already have the receiver, but they are generally not enabled. Enabling FM receivers on phones is great news.
As someone who has used a smartphone’s FM receiver, I want to be clear that it’s not a great experience. Headphone wires work as antennas, but not very well.
The main benefit is in emergency situations. In a widespread disaster, cellular service may be down or overwhelmed. Receiving FM broadcasts is a low-power way of receiving important information from officials. Indeed, I’d like to see the manufacturers go one step further and include receivers that receive All-Hazards Radio in addition to the commercial FM band.
Now, it’s possible that I’d use an FM receiver outside of emergency situations. I sometimes listen to Purdue sports on the radio if I’m doing yard work or otherwise unable to sit down and watch TV. The Purdue Sports Radio Network streams over TuneIn, which works pretty well. But there’s a delay, and if I’m moving in and out of Wi-Fi range, it becomes unreliable.
I guess I’ll see which models Samsung starts with before I figure out my phone upgrade plans. I don’t expect Apple to follow suit any time soon. Their embrace of wireless headphones means iPhones will have no antenna.