With today’s news that the next generation iPhone could feature an FM transmitter so that music stored on Apple’s handset can be played on a car stereo (or any device with an FM tuner in close proximity) without the need to carry around extra cables or a separate iPod add-on, I was reminded that Nokia’s N85 and a few of the company’s other existing handsets already offer this feature. Since I currently have an N85 on loan, here’s a quick walk-through of how the FM transmitter works on the device…
First up, open the phone’s music player or gallery application and begin playing an album/track/playlist or podcast (this can obviously be changed later).
Next, launch the ‘FM transmit’ application – either within the music player itself or by navigating to the N85’s music folder – and then toggle the FM transmitter to on.
Finally, tune the car’s radio to the same FM frequency displayed on the phone or, if there’s notable interference, change the frequency in which the phone transmits on and then re-tune the car stereo. You’ll need to have the phone close to the car radio’s receiver (using a hands-free mount on the dashboard is a good solution) as FM transmitters designed for personal use tend to be very short range – the N85’s transmitter proved to be just powerful enough that with a bit of adjustment the music played without interference.
After using the Nokia N85 to send music to the car stereo, a built-in FM transmitter seems like an obvious feature for any portable media player, including a mobile phone. Bluetooth A2DP might be fast becoming the standard for wirelessly connecting headphones and speakers, but until the tech becomes universal in car stereos, good old FM can get the job done just fine.