The carrier’s deal with Emmis on behalf of the radio industry to offer the NextRadio interactive FM app on the HTC One and HTC EVO 4G LTE will allow Sprint to provide NextRadio service on a “broad range” of smartphones over the next several years.
Indeed, Emmis Chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan tells Radio World, “This is the just the first phone,” saying there will be others.
The phone is a breakthrough product for the radio industry for several reasons, says Smulyan, but especially because of the interactive features. Radio finally has a backchannel through which listeners can share photos, for example, or make purchases. He promises there’ll see some “fun” things from Sprint regarding future promotion of the phone as well.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith echoed the sentiment, calling Sprint an “innovative” carrier that’s “leading the effort to offer American consumers something they’ve always loved — listening to the radio — right in the palm of their hands.”
NextRadio is a free app that will come preloaded on HTC One for all new activations, according to Sprint. The carrier tells customers the app consumes about three times less battery life than other music apps because the audio “is coming through a built-in FM tuner instead of over the Internet.”
The majority of consumers will experience FM on new phones they purchase, Smulyan believes, however customers who already have HTC One or HTC EVO 4G LTE from Sprint can download the app through Google Play for free.