Cell Phone Showcase at the Radio Show
functionality in a cellular phone is easily done, and in fact hundreds
of millions of cell phones have been made with FM radio (sold mostly
outside of the U.S.). At this weeks Radio Show (September
29October 1, 2010, Washington, D.C. www.radioshowweb.com),
an exhibit in the lobby will highlight this fact and include examples
of phones that have radio functionality, as well as information
on devices which facilitate easy and affordable inclusion of embedded
FM radio antennas.
Radio-Ready Cell Phone Showcase will be located on the Constitution
level of the Grand Hyatt, right next to the escalator leading down
to the Renaissance level, which is where the Radio Show Marketplace
and session rooms are located.Phones on display with FM radio will
include the Nokia 5030 and the Motorola ROKR EM35 (shown in the
photos at right) as well as phones from Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
components needed to include an FM radio in a cell phone include
a tiny FM receiver integrated circuit (IC) or chip (which
typically measures about 3mm on a side) and an FM antenna.FM receiver
functionality is also often incorporated into the ICs that many
cell phones already have for supporting wireless Bluetooth and WiFi
capabilities, and in these instances the only additional requirement
to make these phones FM-capable would be the inclusion of the FM
antenna (plus some additional software for providing a user interface
to the radio feature).
In most current
phones with FM radio, the headset cord that is used for listening
to the audio also doubles as the FM antenna, however a more elegant
solution is to embed the antenna within the case of the cell phone
itself. Both the Nokia 5030 and the Motorola ROKR EM35 have embedded
FM antennas. However, neither of these GSM phones is currently offered
by any U.S. cellular carrier.
antenna manufacturers Antenova (Cambridge, U.K., www.antenova.com),
Ethertronics (San Diego, Calif., www.ethertronics.com),
and The Technology Partnership (TTP, Melbourn, U.K., www.ttp.com)
will have posters and literature at The Radio-Ready Cell
Phone Showcase describing their embedded antenna technology.
Two of these vendors (TTP and Ethertronics) are currently developing
advanced embedded antenna designs for handheld FM radio and mobile
DTV (low-and high-VHF and UHF frequencies) applications with funding
from the NAB FASTROAD technology advocacy program (www.nabfastroad.org).
At the Showcase, Antenova and Ethertronics are highlighting the
following off-the-shelf antenna products:
M10385 module is an active antenna module consisting of Antenovas
patent pending FM antenna with a matching circuit and low noise
amplifier (noise figure of 1.5 dB) in a small, 30 x 5 mm package.
The module may be surface mounted on the cell phone host printed
Tavvel FM-p10 antenna consists of a small (3.5 x 6.1 mm) surface-mountable
module and a tuning coil element.This tunable antenna (with a passband
of 600 kHz, tuned over the 88-108 MHz FM band) uses a single control
line to tune the antenna via pre-set control voltages.
Also at the
Showcase, Global Security Systems (GSS, Jackson, Miss., www.gssnet.us),
manufacturer of the Alert FM radio-based alert system, will be on
hand to highlight radios emergency alerting capabilities,
including FM-based Radio Data System (RDS) text messaging and audio
alerts, that demonstrate the power of radio to keep citizens informed
in times of crisis. Even when cellular networks are overloaded,
radio's reach can provide lifesaving information on the proven and
effective broadcast network when a cell phone is equipped with a
functioning radio chip.
Just last week,
GSS and Sage Alerting Systems, manufacturer of broadcast alerting
equipment (Rye Brook, N.Y., www.sagealertingsystems.com),
announced a cooperative agreement that advances the common alerting
protocol (CAP)-based Emergency Alert System (EAS) for radio broadcasters,
and according to their press release, meets Integrated Public Alert
and Warning System (IPAWS) Open Infrastructure requirements.
The Sage Digital
Endec, the GSSNet satellite delivery network, and CAP origination
tools provide a complete end-to-end CAP source, transport, and broadcast
dissemination system. The combined benefits include addressable
satellite delivery of CAP-originated EAS audio and EAS text messages
for all radio broadcasters, and dissemination of first-generation
digital audio and text for display on any FM receiver with RDS,
as well as being HD Radio-compatible.
emergency information, including National Weather Service, local,
state and federal messages can be supported by this system. Alert
FM receivers can also be added to the system to provide text and
audio delivery with sounders and flashing lights for disabled, elderly,
home and business use. A regional installation in Texas will be
the first to take advantage of the GSS-Sage partnership. The installation
will provide individual data-delivery to each transmitter site and
mitigate the risks associated with daisy-chain and Internet systems.Pilot
programs in other states will soon provide a state-wide implementation
utilizing the Sage and GSSNet infrastructure.The complete GSS press
release is available on their website at http://blog.alertfm.com/post/2010/09/GSS-and-Sage-Alerting-Advance-EAS.aspx.
FASTROAD Report On U.S. Sales of Radio-Enabled Cell Phones
report released last week by NABs technology advocacy program,
FASTROAD (Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio on
All Devices, www.nabfastroad.org)
estimates the number of FM radio-enabled cellular handsets sold
in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009 at 6 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.
The Insight Research Corporation (Mountain Lakes, N.J., www.insight-corp.com),
this report, entitled Study of FM Radio-Enabled Handsets in
the U.S. notes that a previous FASTROAD study conducted in
May 2008 by Dr. Joseph S. Kraemer, Director, Law and Economics Consulting
Group, estimated that eight percent of wireless devices shipped
in 2007 had an FM chip installed.Insight Research states that the
findings of the current study are consistent with these earlier
results because the percentage of handsets with chips installed
(the benchmark used in the earlier study) will be higher than the
percentage sold (the benchmark of the current study) because of
the fact that some carriers disable this chip.
developed the statistics in the new FASTROAD report by:
- Identifying cellular carriers and the specific handset models
sold in 2008 and 2009 that offer FM radio;
- Estimating the total number of handsets sold in the U.S. in
2008 and 2009, as well as the number of handsets sold by each
- Estimating percentage of sales of FM radio-enabled handset devices
based on store checks, interviews with company representatives
and company reports;
- Aggregating these estimates, and finally, conducting a consistency
check on the total number with other industry sources.
research revealed that consumers often have trouble accessing the
FM radio feature even when their existing device has it. Insight
states that this is consistent with the fact that many carriers
neither promote the feature during the sales process nor provide
instructions on use during post-sale support. Most cell phones require
an FM antenna in order for the FM radio feature to appear in the
device menu. The consumer must plug in a pair of headphones which
will act as the antenna. Users that rely on a Bluetooth earpiece
will not have the correct antenna attached to the cell phone.In
many cases, the headphones are an additional accessory that is not
included with the device and must be purchased separately. Unless
the consumer purchases the headphones and attaches them to the device,
they may never see that the FM radio feature is available.
Both the just-released
Insight Research report and the May 2008 Kraemer report are available
for download free-of-charge from the FASTROAD website.