For the fan of using his or her smartphones to tap into the terrestrial radio stations around their neighborhoods, today marks an unfortunate blemish in a growing list of Windows 10 Mobile omissions. While much of Windows 10 Mobile development thus far has been a collection of feature parity with competing mobile operating systems as well as implementing forward-facing technology, there are rare instances in which a previous OS feature is pulled for seemingly inexplicable reasons.
Today, the program manager on the Windows Insider engineering team, Jason Grieves, confirmed via his Twitter account that the FM Radio app that had previously been bundled with Windows Phone 7, 8, 8.1, and an early version of Windows 10 Mobile, would no longer be available in the operating system going forward.
— Jason Howard (@NorthFaceHiker) April 29, 2016
The Windows team has sort of telegraphed the seemingly odd omission of the FM Radio app before today’s announcement. When the Lumia 950 hardware was originally released, the device shipped with a version of Windows 10 Mobile that did not offer the built in-app nor were 950 users able to download it from the Windows Store post-purchase. Eventually, the app was removed from users of the Lumia 950 XL (which previously shipped with the app on day one) during the upgrade to Insider preview build 14332.
While there has been no official documentation on the removal of the app, presumably, the Windows team Insider feedback and internal telemetry noted the reduced use-cases of the app. At this point, it should be pointed out, both the 950, 950 XL and 650 have the hardware antennae to support AM/FM radio transmissions, as do most older Windows phones.
Grieves, on behalf of the Windows team perhaps, encourages Windows 10 Mobile users to seek out 3rd party solutions in the Windows Store to regain access to AM/FM radio content.
Anecdotally, as a Lumia 950 owner, I’ve turned to TuneIn as a great replacement for live radio. The app does have a 10-second delay between what can be heard live via a car or home stereo antenna, but its layout and plethora of listening options that include trending, music, sports, news, and top Podcast give it a leg up to the older FM Radio app provided by Microsoft.
Again, there is no official documentation on the removal, but Insider should expect to see the Windows team bring up the removal in future build release notes as they prepare for the Redstone release of Windows 10 Mobile.
Here’s one app that apparently utilizes the built-in radio:
And here are two good streaming services, if you don’t mind using an Internet connection: