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Twenty Percent of Smartphones in U.S. FM-Enabled

NAB Labs cites teardown data

While there are more smartphones available in the U.S. with FM reception capability, the radio industry has a ways to go on this issue.

So said NAB Senior Director New Media Technologies Skip Pizzi on Sunday during a Broadcast Engineering Conference session at 2015 NAB Show.

Some 20% of smartphones sold in the U.S. as of the fourth quarter of 2014 were fully FM-enabled, according to Pizzi.

Around 67%, or two out of three, are not FM-enabled. The chip is in the device but not activated, he said of the preliminary data from NAB Labs. Many of that 67% are Apple devices.

“We need other carriers, including Apple,” to put FM capability in smartphones, he said, noting that in most cases, if the phone doesn’t come with FM capability, the user can’t do anything about that. The exception is the HTC One M8; depending on the carrier, consumers can download the NextRadio app to get FM on their phone with this model, according to Pizzi.