FM Radio to return to Windows Phone 8, Nokia to continue improving their Lumias with new features

If there’s one sore spot with a certain segment of users it was how the release of Windows Phone 8 lacked FM radio support—something which had been around since the Zune player days. No reason was ever stated, though it’s a safe guess that it was something Microsoft simply did not have time to complete by October’s release schedule.

Now, according to sources at the Verge, that situation will change with the expected GDR2 update coming out later this summer. That addition will allow users, when headphones are plugged in, to use their Windows Phone as an FM radio—an important source of news and entertainment for many in emerging markets who can’t afford streaming data plans.

Nokia Color Profile

Upcoming Nokia changes include the ability to alter the color profile

Nokia has plans to make Windows Phone 8 even better

In addition, Nokia is reportedly working on a few other tweaks for its Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices. We’ve already reported on incoming camera improvements, Flip-to-silence making a comeback, the Color Profile selection and of course Nokia’s Storage tools, so none of that is actually news. But now we can add a fourth: double tap the display to wake up the phone.

On a very limited set of Windows Phones e.g. ATIV S, some early LGs there is a physical Windows key which can also double as a second way to turn on the phone. And recently, BlackBerry added a “swipe up” gesture that unlocks the Z10, making buttons a thing of the past. Nokia seems to have picked up on this useful feature and will have it so that double-tapping the screen (and probably using that Super Sensitive Touch technology) will cause the device to pop up from sleep. [Edit: The Nokia N9 had had a double-tap to wake the device feature from 2011, so a port of their old technology] That may seem trivial but we think it’ll go a long way for everyday device usability e.g. checking notifications.

Currently in the latest firmware, 1308, only the Storage tools are available. Nokia is expected to either update that firmware with a newer iteration or release another firmware update to bring over those new features later this summer. Likewise, certain features may already be in the new firmware but have to be “unlocked” by forthcoming Nokia system-app updates via the Store.

Source: The Verge

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Good stuff... Too bad for non Nokia users
  • I'm really excited about the fm. When I was waiting for the 920 to come out I noticed it on the 900 they wanted to sell me. I hope someone makes a radio recorder so I can pause live radio and pick up where I left off, or just record talk shows all together.
  • maybe you have this internet on your phone. check this out if you have time
  • Internet streaming works wonderfully, except when youre in areas of spotty coverage. That alone doesn't make FM a major feature for me. What does, is the streaming blackout of all major pro sports here in the States. YOu cannot stream live sport due to licensing restrictions. Over the air is good to go however. That is why I loved how WP7's had FM built in, and look forward to the return when I upgrade my 920.
  • Here we go again. All Windows Phone 8 devices have the same chipset and in that chip, it has Bluetooth and FM radio on ONE chip. All Windows Phone 8 devices have the hardware to do it, they just need the software to enable it. This has been confirmed on the Lumia 920 AND the HTC 8X that they do and confirmed that all current model phones have the chipset...
    I am sure we will not see this update by next week, AKA the start of the baseball season here...(what I used the FM radio on my old tropy all the time for)
  • @adrian1338. "Internet". What is this magics you speak of?
  • Will it use a lot of battery life?
  • Less than streaming.
  • does the fm radio use data? i only ask because ive never used it myself.
  • Nope, it doesn't use data.
  • thanks ousooner314!
  • No it is like the FM radio in your car, a lot less power than your data plan uses, and in most cases it sounds better than streaming sources..
  • yp!  but ill still get myself ativ :)
  • It's nice to see Nokia's plans to make WP8 better. I'm curious to see what Microsoft has in store to improve WP8 (apart from the FM).
  • Quite hours for notifications will be something
  • I am interested in seeing how many W8 features cross over to WP8!
  • Is that acally going to happen? I didn't see any mention in the art.
  • That would be aweseome!!! I want this on my 820 and colour profile, too, I LOVE YOU NOKIA :D, so much proud that I bought a Nokia device!!!!!!!
  • what exactly does changing the color profile do?
  • Screen calibration.
  • Bluetooth 4.0?
  • it would be added later, probably after WP 8.1, as WP 8.1 still uses BT 3.0+EDR.
  • Do the WP8 devices have FM radio Hardware? Lumia 820/920, HTC 8X/S, Samsung Ativ S. Anyone know? Or is this for (New) WP8 devices that have a FM radio?
  • Yes, it's all on SoC with the S4 Snapdragon. Just needs APIs to access and enable them.
  • At this moment only Nokia's 820 and 920 have radio fm hardware, at least this 2 models wil benefit from the new feature.
  • This will make my day.  I burn through GBs of data streaming NPR.
  • It's available on all x20 Lumias (including Lumia 928, 925, 822, and 521).
  •   The Bluetooth hardware in the Lumia 820 and 920 is part of the SoC (system-on-a-chip) provided by Qualcomm. The specific version of the Snapdragon S4 used in the Lumia devices is the MSM8960 (dual core version), clocked at 1.5GHz. Specific Bluetooth support is provided by the WCN3660 "Combo Chip", which also provides WiFi and FM radio functionality, and is a piece of companion silicon to the main central processing unit. Both Bluetooth 3.1 and Bluetooth 4.0 are supported by the WCN3660. Dont knw about wp8 phones other than lumia series alo have this :)!1  
  • Does this mean they can update the Bluetooth to 4.0 to take advantage of heart rate monitors and such?
  • Yes it would.
  • Yes, technically there was a filing for BT4.0 by Nokia back around the time they released, but we haven't seen anything official come of it yet.  Not sure why.
  • The hardware is 4.0 certified.  We're just waiting on Microsoft/WP8 to support it.
  • Where/How do I find out if my Nokia 635 has FM enabled?. Thanks for any replies I am a rookie  and believe in KISS (keep it simple S____d.
  • Double tap would be cool, of course with other improvements...
  • the n9 has this double tap feature, Nokia isn't just picking up on it.
  • Datasense? Or Nokia counters? I really need one of those. I prefer Nokia counters than datasense because what if my carrier decide not to support it? Fido sucks when it comes to windows phones.
  • Datasense has been out for awhile, but unfortunately it is up to the carrier to decide whether or not it wants it on it's devices
  • and their is the big questions. how comes the carrier is allowed to decide what software i use and i dont use
  • I'm guessing it requires something on the carrier's side to allow the app to keep track of usage (again, just speculation). I would love to see a phone-only implementation of an app that can keep track of data usage. I'm not looking for exact numbers, an approximate would be sufficient to help keep track of usage and avoid overages. I think Nokia counters does this, but it would be nice to have an app available to everyone.
  • Dont know why a smartphone could not track the amount of data coming and leaving the modem. Its not rocket sience
  • I assume its because each carrier tracks data differently and has different specs for what counts as data, some carriers don't charge for YouTube or facebook/twitter data etc, if it was purely on the phone side we would have an inaccurate reporting of data used
  • Data sense is not just for Counter, also made that you use less data... for that the app needs a Operator part.
  • That is the what I do not understand either. Micrsoft gives too much control over to the carriers.
  • Then your carrier's app needs a live tile that shows usage...though that uses more data.
  • It is better than having nothing. I really need a data counter app.
  • That's awesome news. Maybe with the colour profile selection i can finally match the yellow of the tiles to the phone's yellow. That's got to bug more people than me, right?
  • haha i hear you :)
  • Before reading the article the headline made it sound like it is Nokia bringing back FM Radio and not Microsoft lol
  • Double tap to wake is from the N9 from 2011...
  • If I'm not mistaken, Nokia already had the double tap to unlock idea before BB in the N9 Dan ;)
  • Yup, it's been added to the story.
  • Err, is the latest firmware available to those that have unlocked phones?
    (I've checked for updates)
  • Good. I don't always want to use my data to listen to the radio.
  • Indeed. I never understood this attitude that FM is just something useful for emerging markets... In the US we are robbed daily by carriers and the exclusion of a feature like the radio was solely at their advantage.
  • N9 lives!!!
  • Yea, clarification on the fm radio please, all devices or just Nokia?
  • All Windows Phone 8 devices.
  • What I'd like to know is if anyone else has recieved the post portico update yet. This is looking down the road for the summer and of the four 920's in my family none of us have recieved an update notification yet.  Anyone out there recieved it?
  • Several weeks ago, Mary Jo Foley wrote that GDR2 will be ready in 2 months, which at the time of her writing meant around April 2013. But I don't know if by "ready" she meant ready for OTA or ready for testing by OEMs and Carriers. If she meant the latter, then GDR2 would probably start rolling out to phones May 2013 at the earliest.
  • It sounds to me like Microsoft legitimately wants to restore features that were lost in the transition from WP7 and 8 but didn't have time to implement properly. Maybe we will see a return to Zune features!
  • What did the Zune feature do?
  • Mixview and Zune social are the biggest ones I can think of. Also, I just liked the images they used when the artists played. 
  • Ya zune social was awesome.... better than music profile.. 
  • The Nokia 808 had an FM Radio and an FM TRANSMITTER
    Does anyone know if the 920 will have the transmitter as well?  I really hope so.  It  is so nice to not have to add some transmitter dongle to get the audio on your car radio...
  • There are several bluetooth devices that can send audi to your car radio if your car has either an ipod dock or an aux in.
  • My truck is 11 years old with no aux in, which is why I use FM transmitters....
    I know I could refit with a new radio, but I was just wondering that since the older Nokia 808 had a transmitter that maybe the newer 920 would also.
  • This would be nice if it did have this.  I have an older car that does not have the AUX input and I do not want to replace the radio right now since there are a number of functions that it does allow access to.
  • The hardware have FM Receiver/Transmitter, the question is if Microsoft will make something for Transmitter
  • That's great, looking forward to it :)
  • That's too stupid. "Double tap to wake up display" consumes too much battery to keep the big screen digitizer on. "Slide to wake(s2w)" has been tested for a while in HTC devices and is the best way to wakeup/suspend device (In case some people don't know, "slide to wake" means sliding through the capacity buttons from left(back) to right (search) will wake up device, sliding from right to left to suspend. )
  • I like this idea, what are the advantages over double tap, I think double tap is useful. Very excited about the flood of changes!
  • Double tap need 1. LCD digitizer always on, system is active, which consumes large amount of battery 2. Double tap action, which is not better than single pressing power button. 3 still need press power button to turn off screen. s2w: 1. No need keep screen components on, only capacity strip is on, very minimal battery needed. 2. Single elegant slide turns off/on screen. No touch with power button at all.
  • My N9 has this feature and the battery lasts just fine.
  • They need to hurry up with the
    "other" storage fix. I now have 8 wasted gigs..
  • So i guess the update for VPN wont be here for awhile, before i didn't really think i needed vpn for work, but over the last couple weeks, i think it would make things easier for me away from work. 
  • Hopefully we'll see a list of planned features (and fixes) Microsoft has for the GDR2 update. So far we only know that it will most likely contain FM and a bunch of Nokia features.
  • You and the rest of corporations around the globe.
  • need to pay royalties to use VPN?
  • Nice touch
  • I'm sure someone out there read this article and said to themselves; "Dammit! I just want Instagram!".. Lol
  • Haha, I wouldn't doubt it
  • Thank god for Nokia. They should change their slogan from "connecting people" to "making lumia owners smile".
  • Everyone adding their two cents should also be using the Windows Phone Feature Suggestion Box!
  • thanks a lot for the link.
  • Were getting radio!! I was like wooow. (irony scale in the roof)
  • we need a lock for the screen rotation ,,and easy access to wifi and bluetooth 
  • Oh, the sneaky little b.......only now tapping into the fm radio. And all this time I read articles stating that all wp8 lumia phones did NOT support radio FM!!!! I am then indeed wandering what more hidden gems are in de phone. It certainly is is thick phone, thus that would suggest more can be fitted. Would be nice to here if nokia was hitting new grounds on a bigger battery that can replace the current models, even retrofit it. That would be VERY WELCOMING news.  Does the microusb jack als support HDMI out? That would be awesome!
    Would be nice to here more news of windows phone support for more peripheral hardware, such as in home remote controls, more choice in stereohardware support. Recently discovered the TDK wirless speakerline of 2012. Serious contenders for the current JBL and nokia speakers....and what about the TDK q35 with built in wireless charging, oh my!
    Still missing things on other fronts. Already heard at MWC about the go pro support. What about parrot or bluetooth handsfree carkits. Where are they? What about the ARdrone support and medical devices such as bloodpressure, scales, ecg? The list goes on....
  • Their was a reason given for the lack of fm radio, they didn't have time/resources to port it to NT
  • Citation?
  • I had no idea that FM Radio was removed in WP8. So wierd that WP8 is missing features WP7.x already has. Even wierder that screen orientation lock has STILL not been put back since WP 7.0.7003.
  • My Samsung Omnia 7 (first gen WP7) has the physical windows key that can wake the phone, which I use all the time for just that, yet on my wife's Nokia 710 you have to use the power button - which I always find infuriating. I always knew that if I ever upgraded to a 920 (which I hope to do), that the lack of this feature would annoy me. This double tap to wake is a welcome feature.
    As the actress said to the Bishop,"It's the little things that count".
  • Infuriating? Seriously?
  • Yes, infuriating. Muscle memory dictates that I wake the phone with the windows key and when it doesn't work I am filled with FURY ;-P
  • Ha, that's awesome! :-) I would think it would be pretty easy to get used to though if you owned one.
  • I hear ya. Waking the phone up with one finger is something I miss doing. Some other phones you can currently do this on are iPhone, GS3, z10.
  • Daniel, do you happen to know anything about a Data Counters app for Windows Phone 8?
  • I have the same question.
  • I really like the double tap to wake up idea.. I will definitely welcome that feature
  • FM Radio? Continue to improve Lumias with new features?
    What it should say is Nokia is looking to bring a load of features that have been present in their Sybian phones for years over to windows. I'm not criticising but poor old Symbian took a right pasting from everyone, all of the above features, ALL of them were in my N8 four years ago. I'm looking forward to them coming to my 920, I've missed them.
  • 6-7 years ago I was using fm radio on WM. Its in WP7 so they actually continued to remove features.
  • ALL WP7 devices had FM radio...  As said before, all WP8 devices support it but, the software was not ready for release.
    Not sure about removing features but, with WP8, I got that feeling but, as long as they correct it, I dont have any issue.
  • Is the lumia 900 in that improving lumia category?
  • The 900 already IS FM ready as far as I know..
  • So my 920 already had an fm receiver?
  • Yes the Qualcomm SoC has the FM receiver built in, but there was no API/driver in WP8 until this coming update to take advantage of it.  This is WP playing feature catch-up due to the port over to the Win 8 shared core kernel.  This is why some things are still not in WP, but should start accelerating now that the bulk of the core code is in place.
  • I love Nokia, switching from HTC was the best decision I've made regarding to smartphone choices.
  • Is there a FM reciever in Lumia 720 and its 1Ghz siblings?
  • My question exactly...doesn't seem to be the case going by search results on the net... 
  • need to pay royalties to use VPN?
  • My 920 only has firmware revision 1232.
  • I always find FM radios in phones have poor reception
  • it uses the headphones for a radio and works pretty well.  At least my L900 and Focus did.
  • Wow, double tap....
  • Anyone know if the new radio support will pick up HD stations? Or will it just be good 'ol plain-jane radio?  Out in my area normal radio is useless, but the HD staitons have a bit more varieity.
  • my GUESS would be no, since the old one was just regular ol' FM. Do they still have that? I haven't heard about it in months.
  • Wow, I never even knew my 820 had a radio (that's been disabled by software)
    And double tap to wake up? That's AWESOME!!!
  • can my lumia 620 get that FM thing..??!!
  • I would go with yes, but no one can say for sure.
  • FM radio, huh? Looks like I could have my forth new 920 owner in the bag soon. My brother really misses the am tuner from his old N8.
  • Sometimes I don't know what all those folks in Redmond are doing. I had no idea that at least some of these phones have radio built in but MS didn't get around to enabling it. This is a differentiator for MS - an iPhone can't do it. If you're on a walk outside, don't want to use your data allowance, just want to hear NPR or Rush Gasbag, you have the radio. They also have never effectively marketed the Zune/Xbox subscription service - for the cost of an album and a half on iTunes, you can access millions of songs on impulse. I suppose MS will wait until Apple has a subscription service and then grouse that they had it first.
  • Thanks Vince. I've always wondered this myself. Why not bliw the competition away by being THE platform for music? I still pay $15/month for my Zune pass and have no plans on cancelling. I see it as $10 for an album(10 song keeper plan) and $5 for unlimited streaming. Hell, they could have saved the Kin by having Verizon charge $15 for the data and have the Zune passas an optional $15 so it matched the 29.99 unlimited plan they had at the time. So many wasted opportunities. I pray to the gods that my 8X has the FM hardware built in... Don't tell me if it doesn't. I'll wait to be disappointed.
  • Nokia is going full on with Windows Phone. This is what support should be like. And not like how HTC is treating us. It will be best if Nokia acquires HTC when they are about to die.
  • HTC has a FM radio too... This is just not Nokia devices. This is Microsoft's fault for not having the software ready, HTC, Nokia, Samsung, all WP8 devices have the chip set. With a Update from Microsoft to enable the chip and software to use it, all devices will have FM radio...
  • I'm so excited about FM.  Its great for football games because everyone and their dog is online in the stadium.  Streaming performance is crap, but fm signal is steady freddie reliable.  And like was said before, takes less battery than streaming.  win win
  • FM radio is only good for emerging countries? Do you use jetpacks to get to work, drive fliying cars or have reliable internet connections without stoppages when streaming the radio from the "future"? Have you ever been overseas where women have moustaches, people ride donkeys and internet roaming is incredibly expensive? Mobile devices are for that: traveling around the world, kisssing hairy women and riding donkeys. If you plan to stay at your office/home streaming from your wi-fi, you just need a pc. 
  • What model lime green Lumia is pictured in this article?
  • That is 620.
  • Do you think Lumia 620 can get the double-tap-to-wake? 620's screen isn't Super Sensitive Screen
  • I know I don't use this feature as much as some other do but I will love to have it back. I live in San Diego Ca and a few years ago we actually had a huge power outage. Cell service was not exsistant in some areas and my Focus save the day as I could lisen to the radio. If it was not for the radio I would have not known what was going on.
    Other than that I do like to lisen to a talk show in the morning that is not online. I usually use my car but now I can't lisen to it on my phone,
  • Me and my brother are planning to buy Nokia LUMIA 620.. Is this update confomed..???
  • I haven't listened to FM radio in years.  All the stations in my area turned foreign language or play horrible top 40/pop. Now Sirius would be cool to have. :)
    But it's good this feature will be there for those that want it.
  • Will FM radio be enabled on the Lumia 620 also?