Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Tech Crunch)   FCC: "You need to activate the FM radio chips in your phones when there's a national emergency." Apple: "Um...you do know we don't have those in our phones, right?" FCC: *crickets*   ( techcrunch.com) divider line
    More: Facepalm, FM radio chips, Radio, Frequency modulation, Apple, iPhone radio chips, Satellite radio, FM broadcasting, iPhone 6s  
•       •       •

3940 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Sep 2017 at 9:50 AM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



73 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2017-09-29 08:24:32 AM  
any why don't you?
isn't technology grand?
You can't always get what you want.
But you sure can pay through the nose for what they will let you have.
 
2017-09-29 08:52:43 AM  
Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?

Something like FM radio is a perfect way to transmit information about an emergency.  It doesn't rely on infrastructure as much as the cell network (which would probably go down in a national or widespread regional emergency).  All you really need is a generator at the transmission site to keep an FM transmitter on the air.

Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.
 
2017-09-29 09:06:07 AM  
Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt
 
2017-09-29 09:23:03 AM  

Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt


It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.
 
2017-09-29 09:24:25 AM  
No static at all...
 
2017-09-29 09:24:51 AM  
1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.
2. FEMA recommends a battery powered FM radio as part of a kit. Which I imagine that most people don't even have...
 
2017-09-29 09:27:24 AM  

Merltech: 1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.


How would that work with EarPods, or whatever the hell they're called?
 
2017-09-29 09:33:27 AM  

BizarreMan: Merltech: 1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.

How would that work with EarPods, or whatever the hell they're called?


Here's an full explanation

An antennae is a metallic conductor. Headphones are insulated metal wire with a coil surrounding a magnet at one end and a thick metal jack at the other. It works as an antennae by picking up the energy in a radio wave, an oscillating electric current, and supplying it to a tuner.
 
2017-09-29 09:35:48 AM  

Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt


The Thunderbolt was a piece of crap.  The only thing it had going for it was the built in stand amd that it was the first LTE phone.  I tried using the FM radio twice and aside from the fact that FM content blows (yes, even in Boston) tye reception was terrible.  Like going back to my walkman days and holding the earbuds at the correct angle.
 
2017-09-29 09:52:47 AM  
I was thrilled when they enabled the FM on my S7 last year.  I was using a Sony SRF-M37W before then.
 
2017-09-29 09:56:24 AM  

Merltech: BizarreMan: Merltech: 1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.

How would that work with EarPods, or whatever the hell they're called?

Here's an full explanation

An antennae is a metallic conductor. Headphones are insulated metal wire with a coil surrounding a magnet at one end and a thick metal jack at the other. It works as an antennae by picking up the energy in a radio wave, an oscillating electric current, and supplying it to a tuner.


The cellphone already has an antenna built into it.  From the standpoint of RF, you don't need to use the earphones as an antenna.  You can use the built-in antenna to receive FM, if they were built that way, but they don't do that because a couple of feet of earphone cord is actually a pretty good 1/4 wavelength antenna for that band:

234 (constant) / 100 MHz = 2.34 feet for a quarter wavelength.

Using the internal antenna that's also used for transmitting and receiving the cell and Wifi signals, along with receiving GPS and transmitting/receiving Bluetooth would absolutely work, it would just be a bit less efficient.
 
2017-09-29 09:59:05 AM  
Apple hasn't even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s.

So what about version 6 and earlier? I know some people who still have those - the model is just 5 years old and presumably some of the phones are newer than that.
 
2017-09-29 10:01:42 AM  
My LG G3 has a built-in FM radio....only mine is the AT&T version so the FM antenna is soldered to the ground so it doesn't work.  A very skilled electronics technician could maybe make it work.

Almost everyone posting in this thread with a phone from AT&T & Verizon from 2013 to now is likely in the same situation as me.
 
2017-09-29 10:04:05 AM  

dittybopper: Merltech: BizarreMan: Merltech: 1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.

How would that work with EarPods, or whatever the hell they're called?

Here's an full explanation

An antennae is a metallic conductor. Headphones are insulated metal wire with a coil surrounding a magnet at one end and a thick metal jack at the other. It works as an antennae by picking up the energy in a radio wave, an oscillating electric current, and supplying it to a tuner.

The cellphone already has an antenna built into it.  From the standpoint of RF, you don't need to use the earphones as an antenna.  You can use the built-in antenna to receive FM, if they were built that way, but they don't do that because a couple of feet of earphone cord is actually a pretty good 1/4 wavelength antenna for that band:

234 (constant) / 100 MHz = 2.34 feet for a quarter wavelength.

Using the internal antenna that's also used for transmitting and receiving the cell and Wifi signals, along with receiving GPS and transmitting/receiving Bluetooth would absolutely work, it would just be a bit less efficient.


Try using an app that's installed and it well tell you to use headphones.
 
2017-09-29 10:06:47 AM  
My Galaxy S5 has FM on it, which I've used once or twice, but it seems to be a real battery drainer.

I've also noticed this when I use the FM mode on my IPod Nano 6. The battery seems to drain much faster than when I'm listening to mp3s.

I don't know if this is really the case, or just some sort of confirmation bias. If it's real, I'm curious as to why?
 
2017-09-29 10:11:11 AM  

dittybopper: Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?

Something like FM radio is a perfect way to transmit information about an emergency.  It doesn't rely on infrastructure as much as the cell network (which would probably go down in a national or widespread regional emergency).  All you really need is a generator at the transmission site to keep an FM transmitter on the air.

Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.


No headphone jack so no antenna
 
2017-09-29 10:11:57 AM  
How they gonna charge their damn phones when 100% of the island has no power?
 
2017-09-29 10:16:53 AM  

dittybopper: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.


I work for Apple, everything the do is done in huge focus groups.  No one wanted an FM radio and the majority of cell phones purchased via the carriers have the radios disabled and no way to enable them.

Also, it is not just an issue of "connecting it to the wifi antennae".  It is a an extra hassle of interference added to the device.

Plus a hand held fm radio will last longer on double a batteries with no power(and you can change em out) then a smart one you cannot recharge.

And you do realize that Apple allows you to put music from anywhere on the phone as well as using any other streaming service that are non Apple.
 
2017-09-29 10:21:36 AM  

Merltech: dittybopper: Merltech: BizarreMan: Merltech: 1. Most phones I know of can't receive FM unless you use headphones as an antenna. So they are useless anyway.

How would that work with EarPods, or whatever the hell they're called?

Here's an full explanation

An antennae is a metallic conductor. Headphones are insulated metal wire with a coil surrounding a magnet at one end and a thick metal jack at the other. It works as an antennae by picking up the energy in a radio wave, an oscillating electric current, and supplying it to a tuner.

The cellphone already has an antenna built into it.  From the standpoint of RF, you don't need to use the earphones as an antenna.  You can use the built-in antenna to receive FM, if they were built that way, but they don't do that because a couple of feet of earphone cord is actually a pretty good 1/4 wavelength antenna for that band:

234 (constant) / 100 MHz = 2.34 feet for a quarter wavelength.

Using the internal antenna that's also used for transmitting and receiving the cell and Wifi signals, along with receiving GPS and transmitting/receiving Bluetooth would absolutely work, it would just be a bit less efficient.

Try using an app that's installed and it well tell you to use headphones.


Try using a rooted phone to get around software limitations.

There are also FM apps on XDA that work w/o headphones or root trickery.
 
2017-09-29 10:22:38 AM  

theflatline: dittybopper: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.

I work for Apple,<snip>


So you're getting a kick out of these replies?
 
2017-09-29 10:26:42 AM  

theflatline: And you do realize that Apple allows you to put music from anywhere on the phone as well as using any other streaming service that are non Apple.


This isn't about streaming services or music -- it's about being able to receive an emergency message when the cell network is down.  Using the FM radio in phones is a way to do that.

I'll also add that my phone has a removable back and that I have multiple batteries.  They also make USB charging batteries for people who can't do the multiple battery option that I do -- I keep one in the truck just in case.
 
2017-09-29 10:27:07 AM  

Walker: How they gonna charge their damn phones when 100% of the island has no power?


I have a little solar panel thingy that'll charge via USB, and the battery cradle for rechargeable AA/AAAs.

The battery cradle also functions as a powerbank, so I can charge my phone directly from the panel, or charge it from the batteries in the cradle.

/I also have ebooks of a bunch of field survival manuals and stuff on my phone
 
2017-09-29 10:39:09 AM  

enry: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

The Thunderbolt was a piece of crap.  The only thing it had going for it was the built in stand amd that it was the first LTE phone.  I tried using the FM radio twice and aside from the fact that FM content blows (yes, even in Boston) tye reception was terrible.  Like going back to my walkman days and holding the earbuds at the correct angle.


Huh. I actually had good results with mine. The LTE and GPS antennas on the battery door were a bad design choice.
 
2017-09-29 10:44:31 AM  
dittybopper:The cellphone already has an antenna built into it.  From the standpoint of RF, you don't need to use the earphones as an antenna.  You can use the built-in antenna to receive FM, if they were built that way, but they don't do that because a couple of feet of earphone cord is actually a pretty good 1/4 wavelength antenna for that band:

234 (constant) / 100 MHz = 2.34 feet for a quarter wavelength.

Using the internal antenna that's also used for transmitting and receiving the cell and Wifi signals, along with receiving GPS and transmitting/receiving Bluetooth would absolutely work, it would just be a bit less efficient.


As you should well know, Ditty, they use different antennae for those 'cause the frequencies and bandwidths involved are so widely separated and transmit and receive efficiency are so important. And neither antenna is close to a good size for FM.
 
2017-09-29 10:47:11 AM  
Oh, that shiatheel Ajit Paid being an idiot again, I see...
 
2017-09-29 10:48:10 AM  
It was a bold, brave, courageous, fearless choice to strip basic features from a phone.
 
2017-09-29 10:48:28 AM  

dittybopper: Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?

Something like FM radio is a perfect way to transmit information about an emergency.  It doesn't rely on infrastructure as much as the cell network (which would probably go down in a national or widespread regional emergency).  All you really need is a generator at the transmission site to keep an FM transmitter on the air.

Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.


It's kind of a moot point, since the fact is they don't.
 
2017-09-29 10:55:14 AM  

dittybopper: Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.


This is one of the reasons why the internet standard defines a broadcast mode- you have one source of information that needs to be sent to many listeners. If you know about the situation and can prepare for it ahead of time then it can be done easily. In a broadcast situation every router in a network effectively becomes a multicast repeater, which allows any individual device to do a minimum amount of work while reaching a huge number of people.

Suppose the white house has a national emergency server that talks to 10 other devices, and each of those 10 devices passes the information along to another 10, etc. After 10 such generations you could reach 10^10 devices- more than the number of people on earth. And yet, each device only had to do ten separate actions. It gets even simpler when you talk about wifi or cellular data networks because the "last mile" hop is an actual RF signal, so the network actually RF broadcasts that data and every listening device receives it.

A reasonable alternative for the FCC would be to require smart phone makers support this scenario rather than installing FM radios in phones that don't have or want them.
 
2017-09-29 10:58:22 AM  

GreenAdder: It was a bold, brave, courageous, fearless choice to strip basic features from a phone.


Yeah, they should really add cassette tape support to the next iPhone. I would also love for it to be able to connect to my horse and carriage's gramophone system.
 
2017-09-29 10:59:30 AM  

dittybopper: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.


Yeah, the additional engineering effort to hook it up to an antenna is free, and so is the effort to make sure that antenna doesn't disturb any of the other antennas, and to find room for an internal antenna inside the cell phone, and the time writing an API so the developers can access it, and the extra developer support costs of another API, and the extra user support costs of an added feature...

All that, for something that basically nobody wants. When you talk to people who have had cell phones that could receive FM radio, the vast majority say something like "Yeah, I tried it once or twice to see if it worked, and never touched it again." The only person I've ever heard complain about their iPhone not having FM radio just wanted it for the TVs at the gym.

If people actually cared about this, then phones that had radios would gain sales from that. They haven't. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I listened to FM radio in any context other than 'I'm driving and it's not worth pulling out my phone for this short a trip'. I've got 10 radio presets in the car, and there are times when literally every one of them is in commercial.
 
2017-09-29 11:05:04 AM  

theflatline: dittybopper: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.

I work for Apple, everything the do is done in huge focus groups.  No one wanted an FM radio and the majority of cell phones purchased via the carriers have the radios disabled and no way to enable them.

Also, it is not just an issue of "connecting it to the wifi antennae".  It is a an extra hassle of interference added to the device.

Plus a hand held fm radio will last longer on double a batteries with no power(and you can change em out) then a smart one you cannot recharge.

And you do realize that Apple allows you to put music from anywhere on the phone as well as using any other streaming service that are non Apple.


I'm not Ina focus group, but let your bosses know that if I am to ever consider an iPhone, it must have a microSD card slot.

Also, ain't it about time you redesigned the iMac already? I know it isn't your bread and butter anymore, and there are only so many ways you can redesign a flat screen, but remember when you came out with new designs every couple of years? Other than making it thinner, it has remained the same for over a decade now!

/never really liked Macs and iPods back in the day, even after trying them for extended periods, so I am likely not your target anyways
//admittedly, I've never given the iPhone a fair chance though
 
2017-09-29 11:10:15 AM  

facepalm.jpg: dittybopper: Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.

This is one of the reasons why the internet standard defines a broadcast mode- you have one source of information that needs to be sent to many listeners. If you know about the situation and can prepare for it ahead of time then it can be done easily. In a broadcast situation every router in a network effectively becomes a multicast repeater, which allows any individual device to do a minimum amount of work while reaching a huge number of people.


Sending an emergency stream as either an IP broadcast or multicast does no good when the cell networks are down.
 
2017-09-29 11:10:21 AM  

Electrify: it must have a microSD card slot


Expandable storage is an obsolete idea. Putting all of your files in the cloud, trusting strangers with them, and racking up your mobile data to access your own stuff? That's the Fearless™ Courage™ we all need.
 
2017-09-29 11:18:12 AM  

hashtag.acronym: My LG G3 has a built-in FM radio....only mine is the AT&T version so the FM antenna is soldered to the ground so it doesn't work.  A very skilled electronics technician could maybe make it work.

Almost everyone posting in this thread with a phone from AT&T & Verizon from 2013 to now is likely in the same situation as me.


I have an S7 Edge on AT&T and the FM radio works great.
 
2017-09-29 11:25:30 AM  

dittybopper: Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?


Because they partner with networks who make money selling data plans?
 
2017-09-29 11:25:43 AM  

Theaetetus: As you should well know, Ditty, they use different antennae for those 'cause the frequencies and bandwidths involved are so widely separated and transmit and receive efficiency are so important. And neither antenna is close to a good size for FM.


kazrak: Yeah, the additional engineering effort to hook it up to an antenna is free, and so is the effort to make sure that antenna doesn't disturb any of the other antennas, and to find room for an internal antenna inside the cell phone, and the time writing an API so the developers can access it, and the extra developer support costs of another API, and the extra user support costs of an added feature...


At the hardware level, ditty's right about this one.  In urban environments, the FM broadcast spectrum is so noisy that antenna efficiency is essentially irrelevant (i.e. outside noise is so much stronger than the receiver's internal noise that a poor antenna, which weakens both the signal and outside noise, doesn't change the signal to noise ratio appreciably).  You can take the signal from a cellular antenna and receive FM broadcast just fine, unless they've done an unusual amount of bandpass filtering in hardware ahead of the receiver.  Performance will be only slightly worse than with a proper antenna, unless you're out in the sticks where the background noise isn't so horrible.

Software is another matter, but it's not exactly uncharted territory.
 
2017-09-29 11:28:27 AM  

NotThatGuyAgain: hashtag.acronym: My LG G3 has a built-in FM radio....only mine is the AT&T version so the FM antenna is soldered to the ground so it doesn't work.  A very skilled electronics technician could maybe make it work.

Almost everyone posting in this thread with a phone from AT&T & Verizon from 2013 to now is likely in the same situation as me.

I have an S7 Edge on AT&T and the FM radio works great.


I'm typing this on an S7 Edge right now and........ it has an FM radio? I had no idea. Which is the app for it? Doubt I'll ever use it, since commercial radio sucks and my MP3's don't have commercial interruptions, but now I'm curious...
 
2017-09-29 11:31:57 AM  

dittybopper: Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?


Because it's Apple.  They refuse to use a standard part if they can con their groupies into paying the freight to have the manufacturers crank out something proprietary.

Anyone remember the 'Lisa'?  With those weird 5-1/4" floppies with the *two* head slots, diametrically opposite the hub?  All the endless proprietary buses, which they abandon as soon as someone else adopts them?

I think the last off the shelf part they used was the Apple ]['s 6502, or maybe the Mac's 68000.
 
2017-09-29 11:33:27 AM  

mongbiohazard: I'm typing this on an S7 Edge right now and........ it has an FM radio? I had no idea. Which is the app for it? Doubt I'll ever use it, since commercial radio sucks and my MP3's don't have commercial interruptions, but now I'm curious


IIRC the antennas they buy have FM frequencies as a default, it wasn't worth removing them. However cell carriers didn't want them to be active because then people wouldn't always stream and burn through their data, so the cell companies just rendered them inactive through software. You can download an app that uses the FM frequencies though.
 
2017-09-29 11:39:08 AM  

VictoryCabal: My Galaxy S5 has FM on it, which I've used once or twice, but it seems to be a real battery drainer.



Huh, I have that phone and didn't realize it had FM. Good to know.
 
2017-09-29 11:42:15 AM  
As much as I want to love iProducts, this phone is not particular well suited to a disaster zone.
It's got the battery life of a dying gnat and, if not for a car battery backup, I'd have been dead in the water before the storm was done kicking our asses.

/seriously, car battery + solar panel + lighter adapter = a good investment.
/get a small inverter to power basic stuff. Mind the wattage draw.
/att stood through the storm, sprint died entirely. No word on when it'll be back.
 
2017-09-29 12:00:10 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: dittybopper: Why *WOULDN'T* they have something like that?

Because it's Apple.  They refuse to use a standard part if they can con their groupies into paying the freight to have the manufacturers crank out something proprietary.


Or, if you read the thread, we found out that hardly anybody wants this on their phones. But don't let reality interfere with your parroting of iHater propaganda.
 
2017-09-29 12:00:13 PM  

Professor Science: Theaetetus: As you should well know, Ditty, they use different antennae for those 'cause the frequencies and bandwidths involved are so widely separated and transmit and receive efficiency are so important. And neither antenna is close to a good size for FM.

kazrak: Yeah, the additional engineering effort to hook it up to an antenna is free, and so is the effort to make sure that antenna doesn't disturb any of the other antennas, and to find room for an internal antenna inside the cell phone, and the time writing an API so the developers can access it, and the extra developer support costs of another API, and the extra user support costs of an added feature...

At the hardware level, ditty's right about this one.  In urban environments, the FM broadcast spectrum is so noisy that antenna efficiency is essentially irrelevant (i.e. outside noise is so much stronger than the receiver's internal noise that a poor antenna, which weakens both the signal and outside noise, doesn't change the signal to noise ratio appreciably).  You can take the signal from a cellular antenna and receive FM broadcast just fine, unless they've done an unusual amount of bandpass filtering in hardware ahead of the receiver.  Performance will be only slightly worse than with a proper antenna, unless you're out in the sticks where the background noise isn't so horrible.

Software is another matter, but it's not exactly uncharted territory.


I beg to differ... The software is easy, since you're already dealing with SDR. And while there's a lot of RF humming around in urban areas, there's a lot of multipath RF and a lot of interference, and you need a decent signal to noise ratio to successfully demodulate. Downtown Boston is actually pretty terrible for radio and TV reception.

And they do have an unusual amount of bandpass filtering ahead of the receiver, primarily because these are combined receive/transmit antennae, and switching off the carrier amplifier gets expensive, so instead, there's a ton of filtering for carrier suppression and intermodulation suppression. The whole receive path is tuned to be as efficient as possible, since greater efficiency means less power to your receive amplifier means longer battery life means happier customers since that's the only part they notice.
 
2017-09-29 12:07:33 PM  

Professor Science: Theaetetus: As you should well know, Ditty, they use different antennae for those 'cause the frequencies and bandwidths involved are so widely separated and transmit and receive efficiency are so important. And neither antenna is close to a good size for FM.

kazrak: Yeah, the additional engineering effort to hook it up to an antenna is free, and so is the effort to make sure that antenna doesn't disturb any of the other antennas, and to find room for an internal antenna inside the cell phone, and the time writing an API so the developers can access it, and the extra developer support costs of another API, and the extra user support costs of an added feature...

At the hardware level, ditty's right about this one.  In urban environments, the FM broadcast spectrum is so noisy that antenna efficiency is essentially irrelevant (i.e. outside noise is so much stronger than the receiver's internal noise that a poor antenna, which weakens both the signal and outside noise, doesn't change the signal to noise ratio appreciably).  You can take the signal from a cellular antenna and receive FM broadcast just fine, unless they've done an unusual amount of bandpass filtering in hardware ahead of the receiver.  Performance will be only slightly worse than with a proper antenna, unless you're out in the sticks where the background noise isn't so horrible.

Software is another matter, but it's not exactly uncharted territory.


There *is* actually additional filtering that makes this impractical.  I mean, function is a question of degree, but read on and make your judgements. Only very very strong FM signals would get through because of the internal antenna inefficiency and the ESD filtering on the front end chips.  The phones using a discrete FM receiver path are different - like my Motorola G4.

The nuts and bolts of the filtering are this:  A typical chip requirement is to pass IEC-61000--4-2 ESD immunity.  The waveforms and testing details can be seen here:  https://www.edn.com/design/test-and-measurement/4368466/Understandin​g-​and-comparing-the-differences-in-ESD-testing
The way we pass this is by placing a high-pass filter at the antenna, with an inductor straight to ground as a path to bleed off the charge.  That IEC waveform has a peak spectral power at 300MHz.  Lowest cell bands are in the 600 MHz range.  We're already giving up a few tenths of a dB on those bands because of the ESD filtering.  At 100Mz, it's at least 40dB. Probably more.

Also of note:  We were told that each 1/10th of a cent that we shaved from the BOM or test time was worth a million bucks to my company, the RF chip maker.  You might guess that we didn't waste any effort on the FM band, except to be sure that it did not interfere with the cellular, GPS, WiFi, or Bluetooth radios already on board.
 
2017-09-29 12:10:15 PM  
Note that I'm a BIG advocate of the broadcast industry and almost always pack a radio with me.  As an RF engineer, that's my perspective.  Getting all that stuff to work in a 6mm by 8mm package is not for the faint of heart.
 
2017-09-29 12:16:46 PM  

Dinjiin: facepalm.jpg: dittybopper: Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.

This is one of the reasons why the internet standard defines a broadcast mode- you have one source of information that needs to be sent to many listeners. If you know about the situation and can prepare for it ahead of time then it can be done easily. In a broadcast situation every router in a network effectively becomes a multicast repeater, which allows any individual device to do a minimum amount of work while reaching a huge number of people.

Sending an emergency stream as either an IP broadcast or multicast does no good when the cell networks are down.


Our last few major natural disasters have shown that the cell network is one of the most reliable pieces of infrastructure we have, up until the backup generators run out.

If you're thinking about announcing the start of a nuclear war, well, you only need to do that before the bombs fall.

If you're thinking about ongoing updates over a prolonged time period, keep in mind that you've got to keep your FM transmitters operational through generators or batteries, and the recipients need to have batteries for their radios.

Which brings us to the last and probably most important point. Virtually everyone (95% of US adults) has a cell phone these days. That's roughly on par with the number of households that have a TV set (97%), but only 39% of TV use these days is watching "live TV" (watching over-the-air signals or cable/satellite). The majority of the time those TV's are watching streaming content, DVR content, etc. I don't know how many households have an FM radio with fresh batteries for emergencies, much less how often those devices are monitored, but I doubt it's many.

All of this is to say that if we really wanted to update our national emergency notification infrastructure, we would target cell phones before any other media format.
 
2017-09-29 12:55:01 PM  

facepalm.jpg: Dinjiin: facepalm.jpg: dittybopper: Plus, it saves bandwidth.  An unlimited number of people can listen to the 100 kHz signal of a radio station without interfering or slowing down anything.  If you've got everyone trying to stream audio at the same time over the cell system, it'll grind to a halt.

This is one of the reasons why the internet standard defines a broadcast mode- you have one source of information that needs to be sent to many listeners. If you know about the situation and can prepare for it ahead of time then it can be done easily. In a broadcast situation every router in a network effectively becomes a multicast repeater, which allows any individual device to do a minimum amount of work while reaching a huge number of people.

Sending an emergency stream as either an IP broadcast or multicast does no good when the cell networks are down.

Our last few major natural disasters have shown that the cell network is one of the most reliable pieces of infrastructure we have, up until the backup generators run out.

If you're thinking about announcing the start of a nuclear war, well, you only need to do that before the bombs fall.

If you're thinking about ongoing updates over a prolonged time period, keep in mind that you've got to keep your FM transmitters operational through generators or batteries, and the recipients need to have batteries for their radios.

Which brings us to the last and probably most important point. Virtually everyone (95% of US adults) has a cell phone these days. That's roughly on par with the number of households that have a TV set (97%), but only 39% of TV use these days is watching "live TV" (watching over-the-air signals or cable/satellite). The majority of the time those TV's are watching streaming content, DVR content, etc. I don't know how many households have an FM radio with fresh batteries for emergencies, much less how often those devices are monitored, but I doubt it's many.

All of this is to say that if we really wan ...


Personally, I already get emergency notifications via my cell phone. That said, half of the longer ones are just a sentence or two long and say "check local media."
 
2017-09-29 01:23:57 PM  

facepalm.jpg: If you're thinking about announcing the start of a nuclear war, well, you only need to do that before the bombs fall.


-ALERT- Large scale ballistic missile launch carrying nuclear warheads detected. In 30 minutes you will either die very quickly, begin dying very slowly and painfully, or embark on a horroric adventure trying to survive in a post-civilization nuclear wasteland. Good luck. -ALERT-
 
2017-09-29 01:27:30 PM  

dittybopper: Unobtanium: Go$h why wouldn't the carrier$ want FM receiver$ in the phone$ u$ed on their network$?

/FM is the one thing I miss from using my HTC Thunderbolt

It doesn't actually cost them anything.  They use software defined radios anyway, so adding the code necessary to receive 87 MHz through 108 MHz isn't a significant cost.  It's all just software.

Well, that's not strictly true:  It might cut into their profits from iTunes, if people just listened to the radio instead of downloading (at a cost) every song they want to listen to.


No, it's not. SDR still requires a radio front end and antennas, it just lets you do more of the signal processing in software. For FM, it's cheaper to just use a silicon solution. Which used to be included on some of the commodity chipsets that Apple used, but they never actually connected that part of the chip, or engineer an antenna into the design. All the FM receiver did was waste die space. Turning on the FM radio in delivered iPhones was never a possibility of just enabling it in software.

The new chipsets don't include the FM bits at all, they either shrank the die or re-used the space and power budget for other features.
 
2017-09-29 01:43:28 PM  

Arkanaut: Apple hasn't even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s.

So what about version 6 and earlier? I know some people who still have those - the model is just 5 years old and presumably some of the phones are newer than that.


Earlier models have commodity chips that have a FM receiver in them, but it's not hooked up, nor is there any antenna.

This was in farking article, BTW.
 
Displayed 50 of 73 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking

On Twitter





Top Commented
Javascript is required to view headlines in widget.
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report