AT&T will require the activation of FM radio chips for its Android smartphones beginning next year, said NextRadio and TagStation.
The two companies , owned by Emmis Communications, are promoting an app for listening to FM radio and supporting the infrastructure of FM stations.
Smartphones contain several kinds of radios within them to be able to provide users with various services. One of these radios is the FM radio, which can be used by customers to listen to FM radio stations for music, news reports and emergency broadcasts.
The FM radio is usually not activated by smartphone manufacturers, but AT&T will reportedly require the Android smartphone makers to activate the FM radio for devices that they will be selling through the carrier starting 2016.
"This is a big milestone for the radio industry and shows working together and supporting this initiative is paying off," wrote the NextRadio and TagStation team in an email acquired by radio news website RadioWorld.
The email added that the change to activate the FM radios of smartphones will be made by the smartphone manufacturers themselves. With AT&T and Sprint onboard the initiative, the probability of FM chips being activated will increase. In fact, some device manufacturers, such as HTC for the HTC one and new Motorola smartphones, are already activating the radio for all carriers, a trend that will hopefully continue with the request that AT&T made to the smartphone manufacturers.
According to NextRadio, it will work with AT&T and its smartphone maker partners to activate FM radio and NextRadio on all possible devices, with the activation of the feature to be expected for all Android smartphones that will be newly released next year, with the chance that some devices could be ready by the end of the year.
NextRadio also called for support from FM radio stations to continue with the radio advertisements that promote NextRadio and FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org.
NextRadio's research revealed that customers are looking to have FM radio features on their devices, and that they will be listening to FM radio stations once such a feature has been activated on their smartphones.
"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," the National Association of Broadcasters said in a statement that applauded AT&T's decision to release such a request to smartphone manufacturers.
However, a source familiar with the matter told The Verge that AT&T is not making the activation of FM radios a strict requirement, as can be construed from other reports. However, the request of AT&T will still have a big impact as the FM radio feature is turned off due to requests from carriers themselves. If AT&T is looking to have FM Radio activated, other carriers may follow suit.
Photo: Dan Taylor | Flickr