AT&T is trying to bring FM radio back to smartphones

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Most smartphone makers abandoned FM radio chipsets ages ago for obvious reasons, but that may have to change if AT&T has its way. For reasons that we can only speculate on, AT&T has announced that it will begin requesting that handset makers support FM radio on its network in an effort to make FM radio enabled “on as many devices as possible.”

Modern smartphones are filled to the brim with sensors, radios, and all sorts of other wireless gadgetry. Despite the odd exception here and there, chances are your handset of choice sports NFC, Wi-Fi, and cellular capabilities at the very least. But one thing it’s likely missing is FM radio, because smartphone giants have long declined to enable the requisite chipsets in their top-end smartphones. That’ll change, though, if AT&T has its way. Next year, the carrier will request that handset makers support FM radio on its network. The new policy aims to switch on FM radio “on as many [AT&T] devices as possible” according to NextRadio, AT&T’s strategic rollout partner. If all goes according to plan, it’ll be a seamless transition: newer smartphones will ship with FM hardware activated, and older handsets will get the functionality in over-the-air updates.

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