Samsung looks to be the next manufacture to unlock the FM Chipset in their upcoming phones. The news came via NextRadio, developers of a FM radio app for Android. It will mean that going forward, Samsung phones will be able to access the app to listen to local FM stations but also potentially have access to emergency information when data and mobile networks are congested or unavailable.
Samsung joins the likes of LG, Alcatel and Motorola in unlocking the FM chipsets on their phones. Almost all smartphones today have the ability to tune FM radio built into them but manufactures have locked them down, forcing customers to go to streaming services for music. The bigger issue however is by doing so, it has cut off users from potentially life saving broadcast information. If mobile networks are down, users can be cut off from any news and information that they may need in a disaster or emergency situation.
This became all-to apparent in 2017 with hurricanes hitting Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida and, more recently here in 2018, the massive cold snap that hit the East coast. These disasters and natural events have put pressure on phone manufactures to unlock the FM chipsets in their devices so people can get information when no other means may be available.
Aside from the emergency benefits, with the chipsets being unlocked, users will be able to get FM radio in a far more battery efficient way than streaming content which using the mobile antennas – i.e. it drains battery life faster.
The announcement gave no indication on if older phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S7 lineup will have their chipsets unlocked. It was only a forward looking statement which would indicate that the S9 will have the FM chip unlocked.