Samsung is one of the largest phone makers that agreed to unlock FM radio in smartphones sold in the United States, following the FCC request that supports alternative ways to broadcast information regarding natural disasters.
While the South Korean firm itself hasn’t confirmed that it’s enabling FM in its new devices, NextRadio, the company behind an FM and Internet-based radio service, applauded the decision in a press release, saying that with such a feature, Samsung kills two birds with one stone.
“Samsung should be lauded for taking this important step,” said Paul Brenner, President of NextRadio, in a press release that you can find embedded below. “They are providing their customers a more engaging, immersive radio experience and, as importantly, a means to connect with life-saving information in emergencies.”
The iPhone controversy
As compared to Samsung, Apple doesn’t seem to be very interested in bringing FM radio in its iPhones despite several requests from the FCC.
The company said last year that iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 do not integrate FM radio chips or antennas to support FM signals, explaining that such a feature isn’t possible on its newest models.
“iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products,” Apple said in a statement released in October.
On the other hand, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) claims otherwise, pointing to teardowns of the latest iPhones as living proof an FM chip is indeed there, only that Apple doesn’t want to enable it.
“Apple has specifically chosen not to offer this functionality in their iPhone. Indeed, Apple has disabled FM chips despite the capability being available on the communications module within the iPhone. This means other app developers cannot offer FM apps either,” NAB said.
With Samsung already agreeing to unlock FM in its phones and the FCC continuously pressuring for Apple to do the same, it’ll be harder for the Cupertino-based firm to resist, and it’ll be interesting to see if such functionality lands on the new iPhones launching in September.