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Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 devices should gain FM radio access in next update

Samsung mistakenly didn't add the required API to unlocked devices.

Published onMarch 29, 2018

The Galaxy S9 Plus.
  • Users with unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 devices will soon be able to listen to FM radio.
  • Carrier locked devices are already able to access the phone’s FM radio chip.
  • The required API will be added by Samsung in the phone’s next update.

Users with unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 devices in the U.S. should be able to listen to FM radio after the next update to their phone. While we don’t know when the update will arrive, we do know that Galaxy S9 devices with model numbers SM-G960UI and the SM-G965UI will receive the update.

NextRadio, an app that lets users tune into FM stations using their smartphone’s built-in chip, confirmed the news to Android Police. While carrier-locked Galaxy S9s are able to use the app to access the phone’s radio chip already, Samsung mistakenly did not add the required API to unlocked devices. It said that it initially confirmed the problem with Samsung a couple of days after the Galaxy S9’s release when users began to report being unable to use the NextRadio app.

Earlier in the year, NextRadio partnered with Samsung to enable the FM chip on its future devices. The company had previously done a similar deal with LG. Certain devices from other brands also work with the service, although not always on every network. You can see a full list of phones that support NextRadio here.

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In a world of streaming music and downloadable podcasts, FM radio seems to have been forgotten by your average smartphone user. However, many smartphones actually have an FM radio receiver — just one that isn’t unlocked on many devices. While the mobile industry says that this is because there isn’t much demand for FM radio on smartphones, others say that there are many benefits to be had from FM radio. They point to radio being potentially useful in a crisis when cellular networks become blocked and that listening to the radio uses less battery when compared to streaming using data.

Next up: 10 best podcast apps for Android

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