In a world where streaming dominates the next generation of almost every form of media there’s one thing working against the viewers and listeners – data costs. To counter that – LG has today announced a Smartphone with built-in Digital Radio.
Radio in your phone is not new, old Nokia “dumb phones” had FM radios way back before the iPhone was even a thing. But with progress comes new things, and some things are left on the cutting room floor. Radio receivers have been that thing.
And while there are still FM radios in some phones, the radio industry has moved on from FM. In Europe in particular the adoption of DAB+ Digital Radio has been exceptional, with DAB inclusion in in-car stereos mandated across Europe.
So why the big fuss? We can get all the radio we need using apps from the radio networks or aggregators like Tune-In Radio.
Well, there’s two issues.
For consumers and listeners there’s the cost, and while data is getting cheaper and cheaper it’s still an additional cost that many could live without.
From a broadcaster’s perspective there are rights issues. You see technically the radio networks don’t have the rights to “stream” their radio stations – the rights when it comes to music that is. Now while the average Joe would see streaming as just another form of transmission the old fogies in the music industry see it very differently, and their legal pursuit of the radio networks has seen streaming in regional areas basically shut down because the risk is too high.
This new smartphone from LG doesn’t solve that problem for regional audiences, because Digital Radio is only available in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth – plus on a trial basis in Darwin and Canberra. But if you’re in those areas you can now tune into a large number of stations using Digital Radio and not your data allowance.
The LG Stylus was developed by LG working with the International DMB Advancement Group – an organisation representing radio broadcasters.
Australia’s own industry body Commercial Radio Australia was also closely involved, led by Australia’s number 1 DAB advocate Joan Warner.
The phone comes pre-installed with a DAB+ chip and an app which allows you to enjoy Digital Radio.
While we can’t get any official photos other than that above, Norwegian site droidnytt.no published this photo recently showing the phone with the DAB+ icon
Broadcasters too can develop apps that take advantage of the DAB+ functionality to perhaps keep listeners engaged in their own environment while offering the free listening experience over and above the online streaming.
Joan Warner, CEO, Commercial Radio Australia commented: “This is an exciting development for Australian consumers as listening and viewing entertainment, news, music and pictures broadcast via digital radio will use no data, compared to music streaming services which can use more than 2MB of data per minute, depending on the quality settings.”
The device itself is 7.4m thin and weighs in at 145g, has expandable storage and a 5.7inch screen.
We don’t yet have price or availability details – but given CRA’s involvement we’re certain it will hit our shores within just a few months.
LG Stylus Key Specifications:
- Display: 5.7-inch HD In-Cell Touch (1280 x 720)
- Chipset: 1.2GHz Quad-Core
- Camera: Rear 13MP / Front 8MP
- Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB ROM / MicroSD
- Battery: 3,000mAh (removable)
- Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Size: 155 x 79.6 x 7.4mm
- Weight: 145g
- Network: LTE / HSPA+ / GSM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB 2.0
- Colours: Titan / White / Brown
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.