Another possible feature in the next Windows Phone 8 update: FM Radio

Another possible feature in the next Windows Phone 8 update: FM Radio

Summary: There's a new report about features that may be part of Microsoft's next minor update to Windows Phone 8, GDR2. One of them is the return of FM radio support in the OS.


There are supposedly three minor Windows Phone 8 updates coming before Windows Phone Blue. Microsoft is honing the second of them, known as GDR (General Distribution Release) 2 before it begins rolling out in late spring/summer, tipsters have tattled.


Last month, the reported that GDR2 will be the operating system powering the alleged HTC Windows Phone "Tiara," due out this summer.

A new report on March 26 from Tom Warren at The Verge adds a bit more fuel to the GDR2 fire. According to Warren's sources, Microsoft may reintroduce FM radio support to Windows Phone as part of the GDR2 release. (Windows Phone 7 and the Zune HD both include FM radio support.) Warren also is reporting Nokia is building its own firmware improvements into GDR2, including a screen-activation gesture allowing Lumia 920 and 820 users to double-tap the screen to wake the device from standby.

The Portico (a k a 8.0.10211.204) update was considered GDR1, my sources have said. Microsoft began rolling out Portico in late 2012; I only got it a couple weeks ago it on my HTC 8X on Verizon. Portico included some minor messaging, wi-fi and Internet Explorer updates.

I have heard there will be a third Windows Phone 8 GDRs before Windows Phone Blue, but so far have no information as to what might be in it. I've also heard Windows Phone Blue could be either a late 2013 or early 2014 deliverable.

Windows Phone Blue is the Windows Phone OS update designed to bring the Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 app models and developer platforms more into sync. Supposedly the Windows Blue update includes new programming interfaces, kernel updates and some user interface enhancements.

Topics: Windows Phone, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Really it's possible? What kind of headline is that?

    It's possible that it'll print money, make you invisible, levitate, smell like a rose, move to a Linux kernel, and several billion more things. I mean come on this is not up to your standards.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Return Of The FM Radio

    Would be a more appropriate title considering the feature was lost in the Windows Phone 7.x to version 8.0 transition.
    • Would be nice for it to return

      Although as I had an LG Optimus 7 the FM radio never actually picked up a signal, the same as it couldn't pick up a GPS signal if it was cloudy or frequently a cell signal unless you were standing next to a transmitter.
      I'm using a Nokia 920 now, hopefully it will be usable.
  • Existing Phones

    Do any existing phones already have FM receivers built in that are just dormant, waiting to be activated?
    x I'm tc
    • Yes...

      Some do have FM tuners. According to many sources, the Lumia 920, for example, would actually have the FM tuner but it is useless until the OS exposes it.
      • Existing Phones

        Nice. That's what I was hoping for.
        x I'm tc
  • Another possible feature in the next Windows Phone 8 update: FM Radio

    I could take it or leave it. Not a whole lot on the radio to listen to especially the morning talk shows.
    • In MN

      I'm waiting to upgrade from WP7 because I am always listening to the public radio stations, MPR & The Current. I'd hoped radio was still in the works. ::crosses fingers::
  • Waking from standby

    "Warren also is reporting Nokia is building its own firmware improvements into GDR2, including a screen-activation gesture allowing Lumia 920 and 820 users to double-tap the screen to wake the device from standby"

    - This would be great feature... scrambling for power button to turn on the device is very inconvenient.

    FM radio support need to brought back ASAP.
    • not really

      maybe if you have signal issues and can't use iHeartradio, but Sprint and T-Mobile are the ones with crap signals for the most part.
      • FM is going to sound infinitely better ...

        ... than iheart. It's a hi-fi uncompressed analog signal. Good stuff. Unlike any internet radio which is all bogus sounding.
        Schoolboy Bob
      • Data

        I am an avid NPR listener. I probably use 1 GB a month that isn't streaming radio, and 5 GB a month that is. I could save hundreds of dollars a year by getting FM rather than streaming.
        x I'm tc
  • Really want the double-tap feature to wake the device from standby....

    ...I keep wanting to hit the Windows button to wake my phone, so double tapping the screen would be a really welcome feature. It is a little awkward sometimes to have to hit the power button to wake the screen. It would also be nice to wake the screen by hitting the volume buttons.

    Having the FM Radio is also nice, especially in the age of limited data plans.
  • Do We Really Need This New-Fangled Frequency-Modulation Thing?

    What was wrong with good old amplitude modulation? You could pack 10 AM stations into the bandwidth of one FM station. And you could pick the signal up with just headphones, a cat's-whisker wire and a germanium crystal--you didn't even need a battery. What happens if you're in a smaller town or neighbourhood that hasn't got electricity yet? We'll see how long your modern battery lasts then.
  • Finally WP8 catching up with WP7

    I had FM radio in my HTZ Mozart in 2012. Does it really take all this time to get FM radios back into WP8 ?

    Microsoft seem to stuck in the duldrums, with its two steps forward, one step backwards on everything they Release these days. They need to be making bigger strides to get back into the Mobile Market.
  • Hope they have an uninstall feature

    I live in a mountainous region where the nearest metro area is 100 miles away. There are three US local FM stations (NPR, Christian and Hard Rock) that I get with a decent antenna at the house. The local stuff is spotty in the car, so I expect the app will be useless. So I'd like to delete it to free up already jammed drive space.

    On my Nokia phone there are seven embedded Microsoft and Nokia "Must have because they're soo cool" apps, that I don't ever intend to use. And, I can't get rid of them because some weenie guru at the manufacturer and Microsoft determined that everyone needed to use these things.
    I kinda' want that room for apps I want to use.