FM radio chips are huge in phones internationally, but they’re not something we see terribly often in the US. AT&T wants to change that.
AT&T is requesting that device makers include an active FM radio chip in all of its Android smartphones for 2016. That’s not all, though, as the big blue carrier is also asking manufacturers of its current Android phones to activate any FM chips that may not already be working. The activation of these FM chips will allow you to listen to FM radio using apps like Next Radio.
The National Association of Broadcasters had this to say about AT&T’s move:
"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.”
While you can already listen to radio using apps like TuneIn, they actually use your data connection to pump tunes into your ears. With an FM chip, though, you’ll be able to listen to local stations on your phone just like you would on a stereo or in your car. Some folks might prefer to use streaming music services instead to listen to exactly what they want, but FM radio is still nice to have to just plug into and let the DJ controls things, and so it’s good to see AT&T taking steps to enable FM radio on its Android phones.