Caution with FM radios in portable devices. Most manufacturers use the audio jack as the antenna. Problem with this is you can't use Bluetooth wireless headsets then. I hope SiLabs solved this problem. Tough when FM requires such a long antenna.
About time!! This is great news. I've been wondering why so-called HD Radio (actually the US version of "digital audio broadcasting") isn't being more ubiguitously installed in such devices as clock radios, car radios, cheap battery-operated portables, etc. etc.
Perhaps this low cost single chip solution will be an additional boost. It might help (or maybe not) to explain to the public what HD Radio is. I'll bet you that the very vast majority have no idea that it's digital radio, very much like DTV improved upon analog TV. If it had been up to me, I simply would have called it "digital terrestrial radio," DTR, or something along those lines, to show the family relationship with DTV.
By the way, a SIGNIFICANT advantage to HD Radio that wasn't mentioned is the ability to transmit multiple audio streams in the same frequency channel, very much like DTV can do. The audio quality compared with FM is not hugely better, but the audio quality of HD Radio in the AM band is way, way better than AM analog. And too, if analog radio could be eliminated from a given channel (as of now, all HD Radio is being transmitted in hybrid mode), the digital signal could be made a whole lot stronger.
Now that the hard part has been accomplished (the complete digital radio), I'd love to see an equally innovative and effective antenna design. Spotty reception of broadcast signals (radio, telephone, and WiFi) creates frustration and probably drives consumers to avoid broadcast media whenever they can.
It's indeed a very attractive device. Devices, which have cellular connectivity, probably do not need this chip. However, the addition might be attractive to consumer due to the reduced usage of data plan on streaming from radio station. I can see this would be a nice addon to car audio. It can be made into a USB-charged radio or a cigarette-lighter-powered radio to "transform" a regular analog FM radio in any cars into a DAB equipped radio system.
The article explains implicitly why digital radio isn't widely accepted - the current consumption - read battery life - of the radio is significantly worse than plain old 1950's technology FM. Battery operated DAB radios are simply impractical today, becasue of the power demand from the processing circuits.