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Monday, November 09, 2009, 06:15 am PT (09:15 am ET)

App Store roundup: HD Radio comes to iPhone, 3G VoIP still MIA

For an extra $80, iPhone users can add an external receiver that will allow the device to receive HD radio, adding one of the features of the competing Zune HD; and VoIP application developers still await 3G support.

HD Radio: There's an app for that

iBiquity Digital has created the first HD Radio accessory for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Gigaware HD Radio Receiver, as detailed by The Wall Street Journal, costs $80 and is available at Radio Shack.

When paired with a free App Store application and headphones for an antenna, the receiver allows iPhone users to listen to HD Radio broadcasts of local stations.

Reception of the new digital broadcast method was one of Microsoft's main selling points of the new Zune HD, a portable media player that the Redmond, Wash., software giant hopes to position against Apple's industry leading iPod touch.

As Microsoft released the Zune HD in September, Apple updated its iPod touch with a faster processor that runs OpenGL ES 2.0 and began offering a 64GB capacity model. And while the new iPod nano comes with a standard FM tuner, the new iPod touch was discovered to have an FM receiver and transmitter, though it is not currently active.

According to the Journal, iBiquity has been "in talks with Apple" to place an HD Radio Reciever into future models of the iPhone and iPod touch.

Users still await VoIP calls over 3G

Voice over IP calling service Nimbuzz recently had its iPhone application approved for sale on the App Store, but the software does not allow VoIP calls over 3G. According to GigaOm, that's because Apple has not yet allowed the capability.

"Apple actually did not approve the 3G calling — so they completely broke their promise of allowing VoIP calls on 3G," a Nimbuzz spokesperson reportedly said.

In October, AT&T announced it will allow VoIP calls over its 3G network on the iPhone. The move earned praise from the service Skype, as well as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The nation's second-largest wireless carrier did not provide a specific timeframe.

Currently, VoIP services are only capable of operating via Wi-Fi due to an agreement between Apple and AT&T over network data usage.