Smartphones have a lot of radios inside to provide all of the services we expect. Most of them have a radio that is turned off by the handset maker, likely for business and cost reasons. The FM radio for getting local music, news, and emergency information is not activated.
That will change next year for AT&T customers as the carrier will make active FM radio chips a specification for all Android smartphones it sells. That will put the pressure on Android handset makers to turn the FM radios on if they want to sell on AT&T.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) reacted to the news with the following statement:
"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."
According to the NAB, having active FM reception will open up features such as song tagging and other interactions that are popular with younger listeners.
AT&T phones with working FM radios could appear as early as late this year.
Source: Radio World