Thursday 31 August 2017

Smartphone World Embraces FM, Leaving DAB Behind

LG is enabling the FM radio chip built in to its future smartphones.
Smartphones are pretty impressive little devices, but there is one feature that has evaded several of them over the years — FM radio. Of course, that is not because of a lack of hardware — in fact, all smartphones actually have FM radios built right into them, but not too many manufacturers actually enable them.
LG is changing that, through a partnership with NextRadio. Meanwhile the world's only smartphone with DAB+ is not the success hoped for.

The company announced that NextRadio will become a native platform on some of LG’s top phones in North and South America. With NextRadio, users will be able to listen to any local radio station, as they would any other radio — which is not just convenient, it is a way for those without streaming services to still experience new music without having to download MP3s. With the partnership, not only will LG phones have their FM chips enabled, but phones will come pre-installed with the NextRadio app.

This alliance will give millions of consumers the opportunity to receive real over-the-air FM radio through their phone, says Paul Brenner, President of NextRadio, It is certainly interesting that LG is interested in bringing the radio to its smartphones. Many consider broadcast radio, in general, to be a dying medium, especially with the rise of music streaming and even internet radio.

While manufacturers can activate the chips, as LG seems to be doing now, the decision often rests on the shoulders of the carrier. The reason most phones do not have those chips enabled is the fact that carriers have no incentive to activate them — they make money from customers streaming and using up their data.

Read the full story in Digital Trends

LG Stylus 2 (from LG Norway website)
Globally the smartphone is increasingly replacing the stand-alone radio set as the main platform for radio listening. This is on-line by also FM radio is an important alternative for the smartphone user especially as FM radio is the established broadcast standard in all 220 countries and is recommended by the ITU to be included for emergency alerts etc.

However, the mobile phone market has not yet shown any interest in also including DAB in smartphones. At a conference in January in Norway Ford Ennals CEO of Digital Radio UK said while FM is included in 75 % of mobile phones DAB has to come in 90 % of the phones to survive. Still there is only one (1) modell of smartphone which include DAB. Against aexpectations this LG Stylus 2 has not yet become a sale success in Norway. Many listeners switch from national FM to on-line instead of DAB+.

Like other manufacturers South-Korean LG seems to bet on FM rather DAB+ for the global market.

Also read
Smartphones Becoming Major Radio Listening Device
First Country to Rule Unlocking FM Radio on Smartphones
FM Radio a Global Standard Mobile Emergency Utility
New Smartphone A Lifebuoy for DAB