Here’s a news story that has the semi-official approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: As of June 24, two eagerly awaited new Samsung smartphones became available exclusively at Best Buy retailers and through Samsung.com.
The newly arrived models, it turns out, come with newly activated FM chips in their headsets, allowing users to listen to any local radio station.
As reported by consumer blog Android Community, the Samsung S9 and S9+ — now available in Sunrise Gold, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue and Midnight Black — features an FM chip.
These new S9 and S9+ models mirror those that came to market in the beginning of 2018, which also have an FM chip in their headsets.
Until now, the FM chips were not activated. That’s about the change.
As Android Community‘s Rei Padla notes, “The South Korean tech giant made a promise to activate FM radio so more phones would be able to take advantage of the NextRadio service.”
That should make TagStation LLC and NextRadio President Paul Brenner and Emmis Communications founder and Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan very happy, and further extends a strong relationship between the NextRadio app and Samsung.
As of today, any Samsung smartphone purchased from a mobile carrier has an enabled FM chip. For an unlocked phone, the chip still needs activation, Android Community says.
With the move from Samsung, it is joining Motorola, LG and Alcatel in activating the FM chip.
How did Android Community describe the benefits of the FM chip with its readers?
“If you’re the type who scrimp on your mobile data plan, this will be good for you because you can finally enjoy unlimited music for free,” Padla writes. “You only need to worry about your battery. Having local FM radio is also useful especially in times and areas where there is no or little cellular coverage. When cellular coverage is unavailable or in times of emergencies and disaster, this FM chip will be able to provide information coming from local radio stations straight to your Samsung smartphone.”
It is the latter fact that led FCC Chairman Pai to Tweet, “Pleased to hear Samsung has stepped up to unlock FM chips in its Galaxy S9. When disaster strikes, FM-enabled handsets can help save lives. Hope others take notice and follow Samsung’s lead.”