Thursday, September 14, 2006

I notice the general reaction to the recent trend of putting FM radios into mobile computing devices has been widely negative throughout the chatter areas. Some sarcasm about the merging of old tech with new. Lot of comments about the usefulness of radio and who would even use it. In particular, David Ciccone of Mobility Today ( seems stuck on power drain (actually, that seems to be a recurring theme of his). I myself was quite neutral on the topic until Dave via the MT podcast ( brought it to my consciousness again and now I find myself in favor of FM radio in mobile devices and here's why.

It being a time to remember tragedy and emergency, it should be noted that radio remains the most reliable means of disseminating information to a large number of people. In an emergency, everyone tunes in to the news, and that kind of usage would clog the local Internet tubes. By contrast, volume of listeners has no effect on the speed of FM radio. In situations when time is a factor, FM remains the rock solid solution.

On a more day-to-day level, FM radio remains a top source for talk shows, an area podcast listeners can appreciate. And unlike satellite and most Internet sources, radio is local. For local news and events, radio is often the only listening option.

Finally, I think any concerns over power usage are highly overblown. FM is not two-way communication, and transmission is what really drains the power in networked devices. The drain of an FM radio is negligible. You could power one with potatoes - literally! (

Personally, I don't listen to much radio; I'm not a fan. But when disaster strikes, the guy with the FM headset is king.

CateGoogles: mobile_tech
Mood = curious

FM on mobile devices


  1. Great blog post and great topic! As you know I am a big fan of the Sumocat's Scribbles and when I saw your post it made me smile. Reason why is that when we did that podcast and it was thrown back at me for that exact reason it made me realize it was very important!

    I am glad your listening!


    By Anonymous David Ciccone, at 9/15/2006 06:06:00 PM

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