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Samsung to activate smartphone FM chips in the US and Canada

Every smartphone market around the world has its own quirks. Locking down FM chips in the smartphones in one such quirk of the smartphone market in the US and Canada. Though this practice may sound strange to smartphone users in other parts of the world, it is a common practice for smartphone manufacturers in these markets.

According to the FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, only 44 percent of the top-selling smartphones in the US had their FM chips activated, compared to 80 percent in Mexico. This anti-consumer move is often driven by the financial considerations of the carriers who want the customers to use mobile data to stream content.

Public safety measure

Thankfully, the situation will be changing soon. Many smartphone manufacturers have decided to activate the FM chips in their smartphones. LG, Motorola, and Alcatel have already made progress in this regard.

Samsung is the latest smartphone manufacturer to join the list. The company plans to activate the FM chips in their upcoming smartphones in the U.S. and Canada. Samsung has partnered with TagStation, the company that owns the NextRadio app, as part of the move to activate FM chips. Although the TagStation’s press release mentions upcoming Samsung smartphones, the list of supported models on their website shows many current Samsung smartphones as well.

This move seems to be triggered by the recent natural disasters in the US. There was pressure on the phone manufacturers to activate the FM chips in their smartphones as a public safety measure. The FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, also voiced his support for the move.

Having FM chips activated in smartphones may come in handy during natural disasters. When cellular networks are down or congested, local radio stations can relay important information to those in distress. This move also helps smartphone users to listen to their local stations without relying on mobile data or WIFI, thereby reducing cost and battery usage.

 

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gtone339
gtone339

Shame that the FM Radio chip isn’t activated here in Oceania!

parshakov
parshakov

Greedy-arse Canadian mobile carriers, I hope someone files a lawsuit against them.

C F
C F

Problem is most of our variant(which is also sold in porterico) after the cdma shutdown didnt require qualcomm chipsets so samsung moved to their inhouse which I guess lacks the required hardware

martindale
martindale

I thought all phones in the USA already had their FM enabled. Largely because the USA has some clout which it exercises on behalf of consumers. All FM chips across all markets should be enabled by default – there is no excuse.

digvijayshinde
digvijayshinde

For last 15 months I have been thinking why my S7edge doesn’t have a FM receiver built in. Sammobile, I would like to know if I can file a case with consumer forum in India for getting my FM activated?

C F
C F

All depends on cpu arch. Is yours exynos or snapdragon

tim54
tim54

Some people in many counties are still on limited data plans, streaming is not an option. Listening to the local radio (FM) station is useful and it uses less battery too! It annoys me that the chip is on the devices and it’s disabled!

Allyn K C
Allyn K C

I’m trying to figure out why all the tech sites are implying this is some grand shift in Samsung hardware in the USA. My S7Edge (Verizon) has FM active (I use NextRadio occasionally on it). I saw on another board that S8s have it active (not sure which carriers they were on) … so this news from Samsung is more of an announcement of not taking away a feature, rather than adding something new.

phamstonsofthedwsert
phamstonsofthedwsert

that reason alone should be enough to force companies to activate the FM chip, but I would go one further and activate all phones that are capable of this as means in a event of natural disasters or disaster were listening to radio broadcast is important

Lekabaza
Lekabaza

How about we get fm radio back on all Samsung flagship phones?? It’s easy in the US and Canada because they got the snapdragon versions. As for us on Exynos, we are completely screwed. Why would the A series have radio and not the S series. I still say the only thing missing on my S8 is just that, FM radio. For the price we pay I feel we should have every feature. Don’t dictate what we need by using a certain market as a benchmark for decision making. You guys forget that you don’t only sell to those regions.… Read more »

ph00ny
ph00ny

That’s because FM is obsolete and people wanting them on their phones are in a very small minority

Lekabaza
Lekabaza

Hence I say decisions are taken by only looking at certain regions. When it’s not the truth for the rest of the world. If I lived in the states I would say fm is obsolete but sadly it isn’t in developing countries where network carriage is still an issue.

Thade780
Thade780

In case of a disaster and without access to any network, you could still be able to listen to AM radio for important transmission.

C F
C F

Not entirely correct since cdma shutdown by bellus the carrier variant in canada has run exynos which lacks it