Linux News Today: Ubuntu Touch to Get FM Support for Aquaris e4.5 and E5 HD First
A couple of developers have started to work on bringing FM support to the Ubuntu phones, and they already made some progress, but it’s more complicated than it sounds.
Many of the available SoC solutions used in today’s smartphones usually have FM support, but it’s not enabled by the makers of the phones. It’s not clear how or why FM support has fallen out of favor, but it’s no longer available by default.
From the feedback we’ve received since we initially revealed that work had started for FM support in Ubuntu phones, we can deduce that the interest is quite substantial, much more than we could have anticipated. For example, many users chose the Bq models because they knew the phones have FM implemented at the chipset level. It’s already apparent that the regular Ubuntu users are much more technologically inclined than the average mobile users.
FM support is a community effort
To make one thing clear, Canonical is not really looking into this issue since they have other priorities, but Ubuntu Touch is an open source project, in the real meaning of the word. Anyone can try to improve the OS and their patches will be integrated into the system if they meet the quality standard.
Sturm Flut, the community developer that started the discussion around FM support, explained why it’s difficult to implement. “Thomas Voß and I spent quite some time finding out how the FM Radio functionality is implemented and talking about how it could be integrated. Because there is no standard, we have to pretty much handle it differently for every manufacturer.”
From the looks of it, the MediaTek SoC used in both Aquaris models, E4.5 and E5 HD, have FM support, but enabling it will be more difficult than anticipated. It’s a problem with the audio system, which needs to be bypassed, but it’s likely just a workaround for now.
The Qualcomm SoC used in Nexus 4 doesn’t have FM support, and it’s clear for Meizu MX4. The likelihood right now is that Bq Aquaris e4.5 and E5 HD will be the first ones to get FM support, and it may happen sooner than expected.