Samsung explains the absence of FM Radio on the Galaxy S4

April 17, 2013
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If you’ve been reading up on the specs for the Galaxy S4 you may have noticed the absence of an FM Radio receiver. Unlike the previous handset in the Galaxy S series, all of which came with a built in FM Radio, the Galaxy S4 has opted to remove this feature in the belief that consumers just aren’t interested in the medium anymore.

The Russian website Hi-Tech.Mail.Ru has managed to squeeze an official statement from Samsung about the matter:

Our studies show a trend shift of interest to digital broadcasting, specifically – focus on listening to music content in social networks or on the channel YouTube. The flagship model of our products are focused on customers who use digital content, which use modern formats and channels of information consumption.

I suppose Samsung is right, a lot of us are probably consuming the majority of our music over a data connection now. But I’m not sure I believe that the majority of consumers are constantly streaming music and radio over their mobile data connection due to the download limitations placed on many of our contracts. It wouldn’t surprise me if Samsung was also considering the cost of additional FM radio chips and what the extra energy consumption would do to the already power hungry Galaxy S4.

I can certainly understand the rational behind this design decision, especially given the prevalence of music streaming platforms and increased storage space turning smartphones into suitable replacements for MP3 players. But radio isn’t all about repeatedly listening to your favourite music; many people I know still listen to the radio in an effort to discover something new, use it to listen to live sports and news coverage, or tune in to chat shows, all of which aren’t quite so readily available over a data connection.

No doubt this feature will be missed by some, but probably won’t be a deal breaker for many.

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