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New Sprint Smartphone With FM Now Available

Wireless industry sees Sprint deal as test case for FM in phones

A new Sprint smartphone with an activated FM chip goes on sale today, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Sprint says Galaxy Note 3 has a 2.3 GHz processor and the new MultiWindow feature lets users toggle between supported applications without closing a window or opening a new page. Users can also drag and drop text or an image from one window to another and run the same app in two different windows at the same time.

Sprint now sys three smartphones are compatible with the NextRadio App: The Galaxy Note 3, as well as the HTC One and Evo 4G LTE phones.

The NextRadio team says the FM radio app has an 85% retention rate so far. A Sprint executive told attendees at the Radio Show the company is pleased with the results.

One wireless industry representative, CTIA — The Wireless Association EVP Chris Guttman-McCabe sees the Sprint-FM Chip rollout as a test case for whether other carriers will also include FM capability in their devices.

When asked why more carriers aren’t including FM capability in their smartphones during a hearing on alerting this week, Guttman-McCabe told a subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that the association’s 32 handset manufacturers, and their carriers, compete with each other. When deciding what features to put in a smartphone, “the reality is that choice is made both by the handset manufacturers and to the extent the carriers are going to subsidize handsets, by the carriers, looking at what’s going to sell. And what consumers are going to want.”

What consumers want, like facilitating Twitter or Facebook on their device, for example, “changes monthly,” according to Guttman-McCabe.

So, the manufacturers and the carriers try to get ahead of those changing consumer tastes.

Sprint’s efforts with the FM chip is going to be “a great test case,” he said. “If that sells, and is successful, I have a sense that you’ll see it in many, many more phones and if it doesn’t, you’ll see it in less. That’s how the market works from this perspective. When we look at 32 different handset manufacturers that put hundreds and hundreds of handsets into the market at any one point in time, the reality is that diversity is king,” said Guttman-McCabe.