Tuesday 16 September 2014

Smartphones Becoming Major Radio Listening Device

FM Radio expansion and smartphone boom go together
India with today 900 millions mobile phones is becoming major world market for smartphones. The market price for quite advanced models, some priced at around $70, are becoming affordable for most people as the devices are multifunctional tools not only for communication but also for emergency alerts, education, banking, news and entertainment replacing other stand-alone devices as radio and television receivers. 

The first Android One-branded budget-priced "high quality" smartphones have now been released in India. 
The handsets provide a minimum set of features determined by Google, which has sourced several of the components to help cut manufacturing costs.

Google has also teamed up with a local network to make it cheaper to download Android updates and new apps. The first batch of phones could be offered for as low as $105 if bought contract-free. Our goal was to develop high quality smartphones at an affordable price, with access to connectivity, done at scale around the world, chief developer Sundar Pichai told the BBC ahead of the launch in Delhi. He added the scheme should soon expand to Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The first Android One devices are made by Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. To meet Google's minimum standards they all have: a 4.5 inch display, 1GB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front one, a quadcore processor sourced from Taiwanese company Mediatek. In addition, also tailored to suit the local market by including a micro-SD slot, a replaceable battery, a built-in FM radio and the ability to support two Sim cards simultaneously. 

Google said it had also customized some of its own apps for India, including the addition of railway bookings and cricket scores to Google Now's card-based results and an "offline" version of YouTube, so videos can be re-watched without incurring extra data charges after the initial download

Google said only one in 10 people in India currently have access to a smartphone. About 400 million smartphones are forecast be sold in India over the next five years with the majority bought at Android One's price point. 

Android One's launch comes less than a month after two Mozilla ow-cost smartphones running rival Firefox operating system were launched as Indian smartphone makers Spice and Intex released Firefox handsets. Most smart-phones are now made in India for example by Micromax, which offers a choice of 40 different models. 

There is a strong belief that FM radio receivers should be incorporated into virtually all mobile devices, including mobile phones. Such a move helps to perpetuate the ubiquitous nature of radio and to provide a communication lifeline during times of crisis or natural disaster. Some may wonder why FM radio receivers are necessary when many mobile devices already have access to radio through internet connections. When radio is needed most it's least likely to be available on-line on a mobile device and only available when a mobile device has an FM receiver built-in.

Today the most popular radio listening device in India is the mobile phone. Most mobile devices especially smartphones (except iPhone) have a built-in FM receiver which is used alongside digital on-line listening. FM radio is presently under significant expansion in India for community radio, local commercial radio and also for the public service All India Radio.

There are future plans to introduce terrestrial digital radio using the European DRM-system. However, the DAB system is not on the agenda in India or any adjacent countries.

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