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Smartphones with built in DAB chips to save digital radio?

DAB hasn’t taken off as expected, but mobiles with integrated DAB tuners might change all that. 

While most of the smarter mobiles come these days with an FM radio built-in as standard, when it comes to accessing the far more expansive world of DAB it’s still all down to an app. Or at least it was, for if the CEO of Imagination Technologies, Sir Hossein Yassaie, has his way DAB chips could soon start to appear in smartphones too…

In-built DAB coming to a smartphone near you?

As anyone who regularly enjoys the diverse digital fruits of 6music, Voice of Russia and, perhaps, Premier Gospel – to name but a handful on offer from DAB – will know, the UK’s switchover from crackly old analogue to the bright, shiny domain of digital has been pushed back yet again due to a lack of listeners. However, as the man behind Pure digital radios, Sir Hossein’s idea to stick a chip in smartphones could address the issue instantly and help Britain finally make the leap from FM and into the future.

Speaking at London’s recent Go Digital do, Yassaie said of the plight of DAB in his keynote that: “The next big stage is the penetration of digital radio technology into mobile devices, and our technology is ready to facilitate that.” Which is excellent news for digital radio fans that currently have to rely on streaming apps such as, the admittedly excellent, TuneIn.

However, and as always, it’s not quite that simple and following his earlier enthusiasm about getting chips into phones, Yassaie went on to point out that other problems still had to be addressed before that day came, including the need for global standards support and Government-supplied certainties about the future of the DAB market.

Nearly but not quite then for decent DAB in smartphones free from streams and data-usage, but at least the possibility is finally being fine-tuned.


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