FM Chips in Mobile Phones

We’ve reached a critical point in the evolution of the FM chip for mobile phones debate.  The series of 2017 hurricanes (Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico) presents compelling reasons to activate the chip.  The radio industry, led by Emmis and the NextRADIO initiative, has gained the support of the FCC and key members of congress.  They, in turn, have urged Apple activate the FM chip in the iPhone handsets.  The disasters have given the pro-chip advocates plenty of emotional material with which to work:

 “Fernandez has been hearing from listeners with relatives on the island. They describe an apocalyptic scene with dehydrated and dying people seeking medical attention. He said that activating the chips would “absolutely” make a difference, as cell towers are dead but radio stations are broadcasting information to residents.”

 “Fernandez’s efforts made it possible for listeners who had lost power, cell or internet service — as many in the region had — to keep up with the storm’s progress using FM radio chips embedded in their smartphones.  But not iPhone users. Though the phone includes the FM chip, Apple Inc. has chosen not to activate the feature, a move critics say could be putting lives in danger.”

 With equally compelling arguments back from Apple:

“Because Apple doesn’t activate the chips at purchase, and there is currently little to no cell service on Puerto Rico, the company wouldn’t be able to activate the chip over-the-air unless people are within signal range or bring their phones into a store.”

Bloomberg: details

But there’s more to the story…   see next post.