The FCC, radio broadcasters and much of the wireless industry in the United States has been urging smartphone makers to keep the FM receivers alive on their products. You may remember that Apple got a futile earful last year.
That said, FM software facilitator NextRadio did guarantee that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ would both be able to used for free-to-air listening that doesn’t take up data. Android Police reports that while carrier variants are able to tune in, that FM capability never got turned on unlocked units.
The NextRadio app is used by many manufacturers to facilitate FM use on many smartphones, including the S9 and S9+. It told the publication:
Samsung mistakenly did not add the NAB FM API to the unlocked devices. Our team confirmed this with them a couple of days after release upon receiving reports the app did not work. Samsung has said it will be in the first update they do, but have not yet settled on a date.
The model numbers are SM-G960UI and SM-G965UI that do not currently work for FM. SM-G960U and SM-G965U are sold through carriers and do work for FM.
Fortunately, as we’re talking about unlocked phones, software OTAs should be able to roll out quickly.