24
May
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If you've been waiting for official FM radio support in your Nexus One - and I know there are hundreds of you, then you will have to keep waiting, possibly forever.

One thing is certain - the official Nexus One Froyo release will not include FM radio support, told me one of the core Android engineers at the Google I/O conference a couple of days ago.

I went to Android Office Hours where everyone had a chance to ask core developers anything they wanted (I managed to grab 2 Android dev books there too - awesome!). I was told that Google and HTC selected a chip that fit their needs, and it happened to support FM radio and Wireless N.

While the Android team realizes that support is possible and is highly requested by the users, adding it is so far down the priority list that it may simply never happen, and definitely not in Froyo.

The details are fuzzy now but I am 90% confident the developer mentioned that 802.11n support will not be added in the official Froyo either, for similar reasons - lack of developer resources.

Glimmer Of Hope

There is a glimmer of hope though, and this made me feel proud of being part of the Android community.

After I asked the questions and received nay responses on both fronts, the Android core developer - by the way, his name was Brian Swetland - said that it was now up to the community to work out a solution and named Cyanogen as an example.

Cyanogen already baked 802.11n support into his CyanogenMod ROM, and is now looking into potential FM radio support. A few weeks ago, Broadcom committed drivers for 802.11n into the AOSP (Android open source project) public code repository, which Cyanogen promptly ripped out and incorporated into CyanogenMod.

The radio situation is more complicated because nobody wrote a driver for it yet, or at least released it publicly. I suggested to Brian that since the Droid Incredible kernel source was released a few days ago by HTC, and the Incredible supports FM radio and runs on the same chipset, that it may be possible to rip the drivers and software out of it and port to Nexus One. Brian could not confirm that this would work but didn't deny that it wouldn't either. I pinged Cyanogen about this, and it remains to be seen if he can make this all work.

How beautiful is this? Google doesn't have enough dev bandwidth, so they suggest and actually approve the community rolling their own solution in a custom ROM, thus acknowledging and approving of rooting.

Can you imagine Apple do anything remotely similar? Again, I am damn proud to be an Android supporter.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • digitalthug

    This is why Im proud to be called a google fanboy. It actually means something and can be backed up. Can't say much for all the apple noobs

    • http://none Cristian

      Well, I am dissapointed about the fact that Google deny the request from hundreds of thousands of customers...
      For me, this is not something to cheer up...
      So, wake up Google, I bought your smartphone, I want to use my radio!

      • Robin

        "hundreds of thousands of customer" grossly overstated. In any case Google never advertised it as having FM radio, you bought a smartphone without radio, if somebody can get it to work great if not you still have the same phone as how it has been sold to you.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          I have to agree with Robin, yet again, on both points.

          Let's hope Cyanogen can get to the bottom of this at least for his ROM, and maybe someday Google with integ his changes into their own code.

  • http://iandouglas.com/ Ian Douglas

    If Google is so trusting about us making custom ROM's and rooting our devices, why would they add disclaimers that rooting my Nexus One will void my warranty?

    Personally, I could care less about FM radio reception on my phone, I'd rather use Pandora. Now, if the chip could *transmit* radio, ie to play music from the phone on a known FM preset, or go outside the AM/FM scale to transmit things like TV remote signals or garage door signals, then it would be INFINITELY more useful to me.

    • grr

      The fact that you can access Pandora means you live in the United States, unlike the rest of the Android community. People like you, no offence, have no idea how frustrating it is not be able to access online content because the "studios" restrict access to it.

  • acer_liquid

    FM radio is a very popular feature for people outside of USA & rich countries who can afford to pay for streaming radio on data networks. As Android becomes more mainstream this feature will be more urgent.

    • Robin

      That´s why there are phones that does contain FM radio. (HTC Desire, Tatoo, ect)
      If FM radio is very important to you than the N1 is not the right phone to buy.

  • http://androidpolice.com/author/john-thompson John Thompson

    I'd love to see FM Radio support in Cyanogen, it would be great not having to depend on online radio if my signal isn't great, or I'm coming up to my data allowance for the month.

  • Travis

    "Can you imagine Apple do anything remotely similar? Again, I am damn proud to be an Android supporter."

    No, I can't see Apple putting hardware in their phone and then not using it. They would probably spend some of their billions and billions of dollars to have someone write a radio driver and app.

    I honestly don't care that much about having FM radio, but it is really shocking that you somehow see this as a good thing. Rooting your phone voids the warranty and Google tells you you're shit out of luck if you're expecting them to do development work so you should just void your warranty. Yeah, so proud to be an Android user.

    • Robin

      "No, I can’t see Apple putting hardware in their phone and then not using it"

      It happens all the time (with every manufacturer) as they use existing electronic parts that fits their needs, these parts may contain more functionalities but that does not obligate them to use every chip to the fullest. Eg. Apple used a wifi chip that supported bluetooth in the first generation iPod touch.. yet bluetooth was not available to to user.

      "Rooting your phone voids the warranty and Google tells you you’re shit out of luck"
      Google not, HTC... Google is actually helpful to resolve hardware problems (that are not related to rooting your phone) when you have an unlocked bootloader and HTC doesn´t want to help.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      As Robin pointed out, Nexus One didn't advertise nor ever said it would support FM radio, and, again, if you think every manufacturer always uses every chip's full capabilities, you're highly delusional.

      Furthermore, I will not accept an argument like that from someone supporting a company that took what, 2-3 years for copy/paste and has draconian, arbitrary developer treatment rules.

      Yes, I am damn proud to be an Android user.

  • John

    And actually, Apple uses the same chip (BCM4329) in all its current-gen mobile devices -- the iPod touch 3g, iPhone 3GS and iPad.

  • Drew

    Has nobody checked out cyanogens latest 6.0+ nightly... it's stable and supports working FM radio!

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