Last night…no! Not, the R&B hit song by Az Yet. I mean last night literally…there was no power supply, the weather was sticky and I

FM Radio Face-off: Android versus Windows Phone (Updated)

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FM Radio - android - Windows Phone

Last night…no! Not, the R&B hit song by Az Yet. I mean last night literally…there was no power supply, the weather was sticky and I needed a little help getting to sleep. I decided to try the FM Radio on Big Red (that is my Lumia 1520), and while listening to some nice music, it occurred to me that I could do a quick comparison of FM Radio experience on Windows Phone and Android, since I also had a Motorola Moto G with me. Both devices run the very latest software versions from their respective platforms after all. They represent the latest and the best, software-wise/ And so, an attempt to sleep turned into a review session. Story of my life.

Windows Phone

FM Radio Windows Phone
FM Radio on Windows Phone is a bare-bones affair. Launch the app and search for a station manually by swiping horizontally on the screen. When you find a station, you can bookmark it for easy access later. You can bookmark multiple stations. That’s it. I also find it odd that there is no way to play back radio on the phone’s loudspeaker (or I am old and couldn’t find it). The wired headset also doubles as an antenna for FM radio reception.

The option to play back radio on loudspeaker is actually there, tucked away in the most unfriendly way. On the horizontal slider used for manually scanning stations, a dot represents the station you are on. Press and hold the dot for a drop down menu to appear. The option to switch to loudspeaker is one of the available features there. Am I the only one who thinks that most users will never find this option unless someone points them to it? Why not just have a loudspeaker icon in a corner for everyone to see? There is so much empty space that it would have been perfect.

Android OS

FM radio Android
First time of launching the Android FM Radio app, and it immediately automatically began a scan for available stations, finding and listing over 12 of them for me to pick from. This is already a step ahead of the Windows Phone experience. You can bookmark/favourite whichever you want as well. You can also do a scan anytime by selecting “Scan” from the menu, or by using horizontal buttons in the “Now Playing” view.

Sadly, also here on Android, I can’t find a way to play radio out on the phone’s loudspeakers. Only via a wired headset which also doubles as an antenna.


I am not sure why both platforms would leave out ability to play radio via built-in loudspeakers, but its a crying shame. However, in this comparison, the Android FM radio app is clearly a step ahead of what obtains on Windows Phone because of the automatic station scan that it offers.

So, the Android app has auto-scan but not the ability to play on loudspeaker, while the Windows Phone app has the latter but not the former. I am sure though that the implementation of radio will not make any user on either platform to switch. Still, it was good doing the comparison.

Now that we are through analysing the radio apps, let’s dive back into that 1996 track from Az Yet:

Az Yet Last Night

Last night you were so into it
You told me secrets that
You’ve never told a soul
You were so nervous and
Yet oh so comfortable….

*music fades away*


  1. My experience is slightly different here. Maybe implementation of FM radio on Android devices is widely different. My first Android phone running Android 2.2 has the feature to play through the loudspeakers and my current phone running Android 4.2 has it too.

    On the Android 4.2 device, I already have stations scanned and stored on the phone so when I start the radio app, the station I played the last time I uses the app will automatically start playing if the wired headset is plugged in and at the topmost pane of the radio app window, there will be a headset icon that I can tap to switch to loudspeakers. When tapped, the icon changes to speaker icon which can be tapped again to switch to headset listening.

  2. No; I don’t think comparing FM Radio on Android OS platform basis would yield any meaningful result or conclusion.

    Why do I say so?

    There was a time I was dissatisfied with the FM Radio app on an Android device.I thought to myself…there is always an app for everything and anything on Android, so started searching for a third party FM Radio app.

    No luck

    it was then I learnt that there are no standards in the way FM Radios are implemented by manufactures, so you can’t go looking for third party FM Radio apps.They just don’t exist.

    Therefore, your FM Radio capability or disability is not OS_related.

    It’s a matter of how that particular Manufacturer chose to do it.

  3. I agree with Mr.MO Harry, it all depends on how the FM RADIO APP is implemented by the manufacturer. I use a samsung duos phone s-7562, and the option to listen to the stations being played via the loudspeaker is available, though if the wired headset is not connected, the radio will not work.

  4. UPDATE : On Windows Phone, you can actually play back a station via the loudspeaker, just long press on the blinking dot in the radio app and select switch to speaker.

  5. Mr. Mo, the Moto G runs stock android with some little customizations from Motorola. The FM radio is one of such.

    The Moto G Google Play Edition runs purely on android so all Motorola apps like Assist, Migtrate and the FM radio are missing. These apps come in very handy but funny thing is that the GPe sells for the same price with the normal version, without these apps.

    While these motorola apps are available from the playstore, except the FM Radio app, yet they are incompatible with the Moto G GPe.

    Motorola might one day issue a software fix to allow the FM Radio to be played via loudspeaker just like they released a 10MB update to enable/fix the USB OTG function on the phone some weeks ago.

  6. Awikonko,

    Thanks for that tip. This is the most non-userfriendly thing I have seen in a while.

    1. the dot was not blinking here
    2. for a few moments, i wondered which dot, but finally thought it must be the dot on the horizontal slider
    3. surprise: pressing and holding the dot and options to pin to start, settings and switch to loudspeaker pop up

    Simple question: Is it so difficult for Microsoft (or Nokia) to put a loudspeaker icon somewhere on that sparse UI to make it easier to locate? Sigh.

    Off to update the main article now. Thanks again!

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