Friday, February 17, 2017

The new president of the FCC could return the function of FM radio to smartphones


Ajit Pai , the new chairman of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) of the Trump administration, again puts the use of FM radio on the front page .

The FCC pushes manufacturers to activate the FM radio chips

Apple was the first company not to use FM radio on their iPhone. Something that was followed later by the rest of the companies, and at the moment it is difficult to find a smartphone of high range that counts on this functionality.
Clearly the absence of FM radio causes users who want to listen to music, must do so through different subscription services and of course with the consequent consumption of mobile data.
The discussion about the presence or not of FM radio in mobiles has been a while. 
It is precisely the Association of Broadcasters in North America who spoke about it some time ago, saying:
Users could avoid costly data charges and improve battery life if they listen to the FM chip for free. Listening to streaming music exhausts the battery three to five times faster than listening to exactly the same content on FM radio, and is a critical resource in case of an emergency.
Precisely during 2015 , this same Association of Broadcasters of America, demanded that Apple activate this function in the iPhone 6 . Since this model apparently has the Murata 339S0228 chip (responsible for providing WiFi and Bluetooth access) that would allow access to FM radio. And by Apple decisions is not active.
Ajit Pai emphasizes that access to FM radio is a matter of public safety . And he believes that:
As a believer in the free market and the rule of law, I am not in favor of lobbying the activation of these chips. I do not think the FCC has the power to create such a mandate, and in general I think it's best if it's a market-ordered issue.
Pai also says that in the United States less than half of smartphones have the FM tuner on , while in Mexico about 80% have access to FM radio.
We'll see how this story goes, though it probably takes some time for us to see FM radio again on modern smartphones, and we'll probably never see it on an iPhone .
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