Whatever happened to Blackloud and its earphones that were meant to add FM reception to smartphones?
Radio World readers will recall that the company introduced its earphones to some fanfare in 2018; the earphones were intended to provide listeners access to FM radio using existing smartphones even if the phone’s FM chip remained locked.
Turns out the company discontinued operations in September 2019. Prompted by a reader query this month, we reached out to Ivan Ma, who had handled marketing and sales in the U.S.
“Blackloud belong to an ODM/OEM-based group, a factory production-based business,” he replied. “We did a lot in 2018 to let people know about this headset, but unfortunately the sales number was not good, so the board decided to cease Blackloud operation, and focus on its ODM/OEM business.” Production of the earphones was discontinued.
The earphones came with their own RF reception chip, an FSi4705 FM/RDS receiver digital tuner IC from Silicon located in a “control box” or case enclosure on the wire/lanyard portion of the headset.