Coming Soon: HD Radio and Mobile Devices

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This makes a lot of  sense. Good sense, if you ask me. To understand why, let’s take a few steps back.

I’m a smartphone user; I adore the thing. Having the Internet in your hand is amazingly useful, especially if you make your living in cyberspace as I do. My iPhone was a complete game changer for me, allowing me much more fluidity in how I would do everything from navigate to listening to radio. It was a golden time indeed.

Then I went to New York City awhile back. Suddenly, my data connectivity screeched to a halt, making and receiving phone calls became a hit or miss proposition, and I began looking for that almost extinct species the payphone. This was when I first realized just how much mobile data usage is outpacing the available bandwidth. The cell carriers are straining under the weight of all those YouTube videos and social networking applications.

Which brings us to our post and its title. Think about it. What’s a good way to avoid the bandwidth jams that are becoming more and more frequent? When it comes to radio, you can do it by bypassing the Internet stream entirely. HD radio chips can allow listening even in a dreaded “no bars” zone, and iBiquity is doing their best to make that happen.

Leslie Stimson at RadioWorld reports:

“We’re talking to handset manufacturers and smartphone carriers as we look to put HD Radio on next-generation products,” iBiquity’s Jeff Jury told me[…]  “We’re looking at other MP3 players, where people get their entertainment. HD Radio needs to be there.”

Now that smaller, more power-efficient HD Radio chips are available, the ones found in HD Radio portables like the Insignia HD and Zune HD, iBiquity is telling wireless executives those chips will work in cellphones too. IBiquity is mentioning the SiPort SP1010, available now, and the SP2021/31, which SiPort expects to be available in Q3.

Fueling this is the recent comScore study which find that 68% of consumers surveyed are “interested” or “extremely interested” in mobile phones that include HD Radio Technology. Additionally, it reported 75% of mobile phone owners would listen to HD Radio broadcasts on their phone. I’d say that looks like an audience for it, and as with all things mobile in the modern age, an audience certain to grow.

“This important research underscores the high consumer demand for HD Radio Technology in mobile devices,” said Bob Struble, President/CEO of iBiquity Digital. “As consumers quickly form new habits around technology that brings content to them whenever and wherever they are, leaders of the radio broadcasting and manufacturing industries are coming together to make radio in mobile phones a reality.” [Via FMQB]

So what do you think? Would you listen to HD if it were available on your phone? What about the HD radio gadget Radio Shack put out awhile back? Sure, it’s an external device, but still it’s a step along this road.

Let us know in the comments!

Image: HD Radio / HD radio Alliance

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