Microsoft is preparing a new Windows Phone 8 update, The Verge has learned. Sources revealed that the software maker plans to support FM radio hardware in its latest update, returning a hardware feature that the company dropped with its latest mobile operating system. Windows Phone 7 used to support FM radio hardware, and Microsoft has been working to bring this support back to Windows Phone 8.
The hardware support will be part of a General Distribution Release for Windows Phone 8. The Verge has heard that the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 will support FM radio, while other compatible handsets will also include the support.
Nokia is also building in its own firmware improvements into the new release. Sources familiar with Nokia’s plans have revealed to The Verge that the company will add a new screen activation gesture. Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 owners will be able to double-tap the screen to wake the device from standby. The update will be made available over the coming months.
RBR-TVBR observation: When Microsoft makes a move in any industry it operates in, it usually means others will follow, so this is great news for broadcasters. As NAB has been saying to Phone manufacturers and Congress, coming off one of the worst years on record for natural disasters, an FM-enabled cellphone is vital in getting information to the public when mobile phone networks are overloaded and the power is out. It’s a no-brainer and a great selling point if the manufacturers and carriers choose to use it.