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HTC Takes NextRadio Beyond Sprint

Radio needs to “own” a unique technology, says Brenner

LG Volt

The NAB Labs software running on the HTC One M8 smartphone allows the preloaded NextRadio app to work regardless of what carrier sold the phone, like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

That’s according to Emmis, which calls the development a “huge leap forward for market saturation.”

However, the industry needs to reach a tipping point of stations offering the interactive backchannel features of the NextRadio FM app — within those markets in order to bump a consumer push, according to the company in its latest blog.

Since we wrote about the HTC One M8 launch, the LG Volt debuted on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. The arrival of the new phones should boost NextRadio app downloads, now at some 450,000, according to Emmis, which says that in general, “people who choose a no-contract smartphone are conscious of data usage, and NextRadio helps give those users a cost-free entertainment option.”

Looking to the future, NextRadio is a chance for the radio industry to “own” a unique technology, says TagStation President Paul Brenner on NAB’s Policy Blog. Apple dominates the app and music store, Facebook rules the social platform and Pandora is the go-to for user-program streamed programing. “As an industry, radio by revenue and consumer consumption should by all accounts own something” in the tech sector, according to Brenner.

NextRadio FM is preloaded on 16 smartphone models now and Emmis projects that figure to grow to 30 by year-end. “Looking at the current forecasts for FM-enabled smartphone sales of 3–5 million units in Q2 2014, we expect by mid-year 2014 to have at least 5 million FM-enabled smartphones in the hands of consumers and continuing to grow,” says Brenner, who urges more radio groups to participate in the NextRadio effort.