3GP is a simplified version of the MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4) container format, designed to decrease storage and bandwidth requirements in order to accommodate mobile phones. It stores video streams as MPEG-4 Part 2 or H.263 or MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC/H.264), and audio streams as AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, AAC-LC or HE-AAC. 3GP is designed for effieciency to make it suitable for Streaming across mobile phone networks and storing on mobile devices with very littel storage capacity. Video rarely exceeds a QVGA resolution of 320 x 240 pixels but there are VGA or even D1 resolution exceptions. Audio is usually encoded as either MP3 or AAC-LC (Low Complexity). Framerates for most mobile devices are Limited to 15fps. There are two different standards for this format:
- 3GPP (for GSM-based Phones, may have filename extension .3gp)
- 3GPP2 (for CDMA-based Phones, may have filename extension .3g2)
Analog cellular phones were the first generation while digital marked the second generation. 3G is loosely defined, but generally includes high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity. The high data speeds are possibly the most prominent feature, and certainly the most hyped. They enable such advanced features as live, streaming video. There are several different 3G technology standards. The most prevalent is UMTS, which is based on WCDMA (the terms WCDMA and UMTS are often used interchangeably).
The name usually given to original GSM, CDMA, and TDMA networks. It uses the spectrum more efficiently than analog (1G) systems, and offers digital encryption of conversations. 2G networks introduced data services for mobiles starting with SMS.
802.11 is a set of IEEE standards for wireless local area networks (WLAN). The most common variant is 802.11g, which is backwards compatible with the older B variant. 802.11g devices are sometimes marked as 802.11b/g to indicate this compatibility. There is a newer version - 802.11n - that provides higher maximum speeds and better range. The 802.11g standard's typical speeds are rated up to 54 Mbps.
AVRC is a Bluetooth profile that allows remote control of media playback on other devices. Supported functions are play, pause, stop, next, and previous. It is usually coupled with A2DP so that, for example, wireless headphones use A2DP to stream the music and AVRC to control playback.
Auto-focus is a feature of digital cameras that allows them to focus correctly on a subject. It enhances the quality of the photo over fixed-focus cameras and allows for close-ups (or the even closer macro shots). Phones use passive auto-focus with contrast measurement. This means that the camera needs contrast to focus and have problems focusing on a blank wall or in low light conditions. Some phones can use their camera LEDs as a focus assist light to help deal with the latter case.
A common connector for plugging in a standard pair of music headphones such as the ones found on music players, computers and most other electronic devices with audio outputs. It can support stereo and/or microphone, depending on the number of separate connector rings on the jack. Some phones offer only a 2.5 mm jack, which is a smaller variety of the same principle. Headphones supplied with mobile phones usually have a mic somewhere along the cable and a remote button that allows for managing calls without using the phone. Some manufacturers opt for placing a 3.5mm audio jack on this remote control instead of directly on the phone itself. The reason for this is that 3.5mm jacks take up quite a lot of internal space; plus, in this way the user gets to keep the remote control/mic functionality while using third-party headphones.
APN is the name (web address) of an access point for GPRS/EDGE/UMTS data connection. Usually wireless carriers provide the APN to their end users.
The physical device used for sending/receiving radio waves. Older phones used external antennas while most current phones use an internal antenna. The size and shape of the antenna is designed according to the type of radio waves being used.
Android is a Linux-based smartphone operating system and software platform created by Google. The Android platform is supported by the Open Handset Alliance and is open source. Any manufacturer can use Android on their phones and software written for the platform will run on Android-based devices regardless of manufacturer. Android competes with Windows Mobile, S60, and other smartphone platforms.
A method of transmitting information using energy waves. It doesn't have discrete levels but is a continuously variable wave. Human voice for example is transferred by directly converting the sound wave to electricity. Analog cell phones (known also as 1G) used this technology. However virtually all modern cell phones use digital signals (2G or later).
AMOLED is an emerging display technology used in portable devices like mobile phones. Active-matrix OLED displays provide the same performance as their passive-matrix OLED counterparts, but they consume significantly less power. This advantage makes active-matrix OLEDs well suited for portable electronics where battery power consumption is critical.
A string of characters containing both letters (A-Z) and numbers (0-9). An alphanumeric text entry field will accept both letters and numbers. An alphanumeric keypad is one with both letters and numbers on the keys.
This is a feature allowing a mobile phone to act like a common alarm clock but with more flexibility. Currently, all mobile phones offer this functionality with varying feature sets. For example, most devices allow you to set an unlimited number of alarms and set them to repeat on a daily or weekly basis. Some even allow a customizable snooze period and with the most advanced devices you can silence an alarm just by turning the device face down. Using a favorite FM radio station as an alarm tone is also an option with some handsets. Some phones require the device to be on for the alarm to work while others do not.
The accelerometer is a built-in electronic component that measures tilt and motion. It is also capable of detecting rotation and motion gestures such as swinging or shaking. The most common use for it is to activate auto screen rotation on mobile devices when the user changes their orientation from portrait to landscape or vice-versa. Another modern application for the accelerometer is to control the mobile device music player with gestures (Sony Ericsson Shake control or Samsung Motion play technologies). Accelerometers are also utilized for enriching the gaming controls (navigating by tilting the device instead of by pressing keys). Another popular mobile phone feature based on an accelerometer is turn-to-mute. It allows user to mute an incoming call, silence an alarm or pause the mobile music player simply by turning the device face down.
AAC is a file format for storing digital audio. It's commonly used for storing music on the Internet, PCs and portable music players and phones. It is similar to MP3, but it was designed to be its successor and offers better quality and smaller file sizes. It also supports DRM, which enforces copyright. AAC+ and AAC++ are newer versions of the standard.
A2DP is used for streaming stereo music wirelessly to headphones or speakers over Bluetooth. Unlike other Bluetooth profiles (Headset and Handsfree), A2DP is one-way only and streams a stereo signal.
Assisted GPS (A-GPS) is used to speed up start-up times of GPS-based positioning systems. GPS may have problems getting a lock when the signal is weak and in such a case A-GPS would assist in getting a lock. This, however, is achieved by the use of an Assistance Server, so a data connection is required and charges may apply for the data transfer.
A string of 8 bits. Typically, one byte equals one character of text but in some cases (especially with non-Latin alphabets), two or more bytes are used. Because of this, an SMS written in Cyrillic or Chinese alphabets has shorter maximum length than one written in the Latin alphabet.
A piece of software that allows the user to access Internet sites. Most current handsets are equipped with browsers capable of viewing common websites (those intended for a desktop browser). Web browsers on budget cellphones may be capable of viewing only websites specially made for mobile devices. The most advanced devices currently have web browsers with full Flash support that allows them to play even embedded Flash video (such as the videos from YouTube).
In data communications, a "broadband connection" is a connection with a high speed of data transfer (greater than 56 kbps). Generally, it is fast enough to support streaming video.
A measure of data transmission speeds, the amount of bits transferred in a single second. Typically, speeds are measured in kbps (1000 bits per second). Note: kBps (with a capital B) denotes bytes per second.
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks. There are two important parameters of Bluetooth devices - class and supported profiles. "Class" signifies the distance at which a Bluetooth connection is possible. Most mobile devices are Class 2, which means they have a range of up to 10 m. Class 1 devices are rare and have a range of up to 100 feet. A "profile" is a type of Bluetooth connection. The most common are the Headset (HSP) and Handsfree (HFP) profiles that enable the device to connect to a wireless headset or handsfree. Some other profiles are OBEX (OBject EXchange) which allows transfer of files, contacts and events; A2DP, which adds support for streaming of stereo sound and AVRC, which allows remote control of playback.
A binary digit. The values of a bit are either "0" or "1". Eight bits form a byte.
A fixed station that uses radio waves to communicate with mobile devices. It serves as the link between the user's device and the carrier's network. Base stations range in size and area of coverage. Some may cover a radius of several kilometers while others cover only a few city blocks. Most stations transmit in all directions but there are also directional antennas aimed at a specific direction. Usually base stations are owned by a single carrier but may offer roaming coverage for other networks.
The bar form factor is the most common and simple form factor for a mobile phone. The body of a bar phone is one, single block and has no moving parts (aside from the buttons). "Locking" the keyboard is done to prevent accidental key presses when the phone is carried in a pocket, purse, etc.
Bandwidth is used to measure the data throughput of a channel or connection. It's the amount of data that can be sent over a connection in a given amount of time without distortion. It should not be confused with band.
A specific range of frequencies (for example those between 1850 MHz and 1995 MHz) are called a band.
Phones come preloaded with a selection of ringtones, yet some phones also allow the user to load a new ringtone. This could be done by writing the notes in a built-in composer, or by downloading the ringtone via a special SMS/MMS or from the internet. An easy way to transfer custom ringtones to your mobile phone is via a USB data cable, Bluetooth or a memory card reader. When you want to use custom ringtones, you should check the phone supported file formats beforehand.
CTIA is the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunication Industry, an international organization dedicated to expanding the wireless frontier. It's basically an international industry trade group representing all wireless communication sectors.
STN is a type of LCD display technology. STN is black and white while CSTN is the color version. (C)STN displays are used on lower end devices. Typically an STN display has worse image quality and response times than a TFT LCD, but is cheaper and more energy efficient.
A phenomenon by which a signal transmitted on one circuit or channel creates an undesired effect on another circuit. Generally rare in modern digital wireless phone systems but not entirely eliminated. Stereo crosstalk for example is one of the parameters of audio quality we test when reviewing mobile phones. The crosstalk measurement is made to determine the amount of signal leaking across from one channel to another or - in purely non-technical terms - it measures how good the stereo is.
CPU (Central Processing Unit) - otherwise known as a processor - is an electronic circuit that can execute computer programs. Both the miniaturization and standardization of CPUs have increased their presence far beyond the limited application of dedicated computing machines. Modern microprocessors appear in everything from automobiles to mobile phones. The clock rate is one of the main characteristics of the CPU when performance is concerned. Clock rate is the fundamental rate in cycles per second (measured in hertz, kilohertz, megahertz or gigahertz) for the frequency of the clock in any synchronous circuit. A single clock cycle (typically shorter than a nanosecond in modern non-embedded microprocessors) toggles between a logical zero and a logical one state. With any particular CPU, replacing the crystal with another crystal that oscillates with twice the frequency will generally make the CPU run with twice the performance. It will also make the CPU produce roughly twice the amount of waste heat. Engineers are working hard to push the boundaries of the current architectures and are constantly searching for new ways to design CPUs that tick a little quicker or use slightly less energy per clock. This produces new cooler CPUs that can run at higher clock rates. Scientists also continue to search for new designs that allow CPUs to run at the same or at a lower clock rate as older CPUs, but which get more instructions completed per clock cycle. The clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation. Clock rates can be very misleading since the amount of work different computer chips can do in one cycle varies. Clock rates should not be used when comparing different computers or different processor families. Rather, some kind of software benchmarks should be used. Smartphones are equipped with more advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming. The performance of the CPU that's at the core of the chipset is vital for the daily user experience and the general computing performance of the smartphone. People tend to use the clock rate of the main CPU to compare the performance of competing end products. But as we already pointed out, the clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing performance comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation. For all other purposes, it's best to use software benchmarks for determining comparative performance.
Typically, an SMS is 160 characters in length (using Latin characters) but a concatenated SMS has a longer maximum length. The message is composed as a single message and the phone splits it into several shorter messages that are reassembled by the receiving phone. Maximum length varies between 300 and 1,000 characters depending on the device.
CMOS is one of two major types of image sensor technologies used in digital cameras (the other being CCD). The image sensor of a digital camera serves as a digital substitute for film in ordinary cameras. The camera sensor captures light, converts it to electric charge and processes it into electronic signals. Generally, CMOS sensors are smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient and currently deliver the same image quality as CCD sensors.
The phone consists of two halves connected with a hinge in the middle. The hinge allows the phone to be folded close (much like a sea clamshell, hence the name). When the phone is closed, the keyboard is protected from accidental key presses. The top half usually hosts a small external display and a large internal main display, while the bottom half incorporates the keyboard. The camera (if present) can be on either half.
A standard resolution - 352 x 288 pixels - used by some digital cameras for either images or video. Variations include QCIF (Quarter CIF) - 176 x 144 pixels - and SQCIF (Sub Quarter CIF) - 128 x 96.
cHTML is a simplified version of HTML with features such as the accesskey attribute for numpad-optimized web navigation, phone number shortcuts for links, and emoji pictorial characters. cHTML is used exclusively for iMode, a service that is offered only in Japan and several European countries. Most phones use the older WML format or the newer XHTML Mobile Profile.
Mobile phones run on so-called embedded chipsets, which are designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions, often with real-time computing constraints. They are embedded as part of the complete device including hardware and mechanical parts. The ever popular smartphones are equipped with more advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming. Thus their CPU (Central Processing Unit) performance is vital for the daily user experience and people tend to use the clock rate of the main CPU that's in the heart of the chipset to compare the performance of competing end products. As we already pointed out, the clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing performance comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation. Also, as mobile gaming is increasingly gaining popularity, users have become more aware of the various types of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) chips that come as part of the mobile chipsets and sometimes even consider their performance when making buying decisions.
Wireless networks are comprised of many overlapping cells (the area covered by a base station). "Cell" can also refer to one or more connected base stations.
A 3G wireless technology, evolved from cdmaOne. Improvements over the old standard include faster data rates, always-on data service, and improved voice network capacity. There are three types of CMDA2000:
- 1xRTT doubles the capacity of cdmaOne and supports up to 144 kbps data speeds
- 1xEV-DO supports data rates up to 2.4 Mbps but needs to be deployed in a separate spectrum. This standard doesn't support voice calls and needs to be combined with 1xRTT.
- 1xEV-DV supports data rates of around 3-5 Mbps and voice capabilities
CDMA is a digital technology for transmitting data. It is a general technology utilized through various standards. CDMA has no limit on capacity but the base station will only connect users upon determining that the call quality would fall bellow a predetermined limit. The term is often used to refer to one specific family of technologies - IS-95 (often referred to cdmaOne) and CDMA2000. Networks using this technology operate in the 800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands and are primarily used in the Americas and Asia.
Carriers (sometimes service providers, operators) are the companies that sell the use of a wireless network. Usually they own the network though some (called MVNO) do not. The network consists of base stations (cell towers) and the infrastructure linking them. The service allows the user to access the network and they are billed by the minute (for calls) or by kilobytes (for data transfers). Such services are sold as packages known as "calling plans".
In some countries, it is prohibited to use a mobile phone while driving so special accessories are sold which let you make a call without holding the phone in your hand. Such accessories are sold as kits that may include a holder for the phone, a battery charger, connections to an external speaker and microphone for better audio quality, an external antenna for better reception and a junction box with data port for optional fax/modem connections.
Capacitive touch sensors are used either as buttons or on touchscreens. They work by sensing the electrical properties of the human body instead of pressure and generally they don't work with a stylus so they don't allow handwriting recognition. However, capacitive touchscreens feel more sensitive than their resistive counterparts. Capacitive touch screens are also considered more durable than resistive touch screens.
Some phones feature a camera that gives them the ability to work as a digital camera. Often (though not always) the camera is also able to shoot video. The most important characteristics of a camera are the resolution (measured in megapixels), lens focus type (either fixed or automatic) and the presence of a flash. The flash could be either LED (single or even double) or xenon. The number of megapixels is not always a good measurement of the quality of the photos, but if you plan to print pictures, you would generally get higher quality ones out of higher megapixel cameras. Auto focus lens are not a guarantee of better image quality, but fixed focus cameras are usually inferior. Most importantly, only auto focus cameras can allow shooting of really close objects - i.e. macro shooting. Some phones offer optical zoom but those are rare. Most use digital zoom, which degrades the quality of the photo. Cameras that can work in "video mode" are characterized by the maximum resolution and framerate (frames per second or fps) of the recorded video.
Services offered by the wireless service provider as a package. These usually include activation, monthly charges, per-minute voice call charges, roaming terms, voicemail, data, and international roaming.
The mobile phone can alert you of events such as an incoming call or an incoming message in a number of ways. The two most popular ones are vibration and ringing. While vibration is pretty much self-explanatory, the ringing alerts can be of several types depending on the mobile phone. In the past mobile phones used to allow only monophonic tones to be set as ringing alerts. With the advancement of technology, polyphonic ringtones also became supported. Later on as mobile phones further evolved, they started using MP3 tones for various alert purposes. As more (presumably superior) audio formats became available (such as AAC), they were also added to the mobile phones' alert system. Recently, mobile phones have even started to use short video clips as call alerts (not to be confused with video calls). No matter what kind of ringing tones the mobile phone uses, users have always enjoyed customizing their ringtones by expanding the preset ones supplied by the manufacturer.
Calendars (also known as PIM - Personal Information Manager) allow you to store information about events such as meetings or reminders (e.g. to remind you of someone's birthday). Usually an alarm can be set to sound an alert. Some devices offer the ability to synchronize the calendar with the one on your computer or your online clendar/task manager.
The basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are included in all calculators but some offer more advanced options such as square root or trigonomic functions. Some calculators have the option to convert currency and can calculate mortgage payments.
A way or organizing different types of data in the phone's memory. Also referred to as Shared memory. Dynamic memory means that all types of data are stored in the same memory (there is no separate memory for photos, ringtones etc.). An advantage of dynamic memory over partitioned memory is that it is more flexible - with partitioned memory, you can fill up the photo memory for example and you won't be able to take any more photos even if other types of memory are free.
A European standard specifically for the broadcasting of television content to hand-held devices based on DVB-T. As of 2007, live trial runs of DVB-H have started in many European countries, as well as other countries around the world.
A dual-mode phone is a phone capable of sending/receiving data in two different ways. For example, a dual-mode phone could support both GSM and CDMA.
Mobile phone networks work using signals on specific frequency bands and a phone must support those bands in order to work with the network. Dual-band refers to the phones ability to work with two different bands. It is important to specify which bands exactly. Networks in different geographical locations work on different bands - GSM networks in the Americas use the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands while networks in Europe, Brazil, Asia and Africa use the 900/1800 MHz bands. For example an 900/1800 dual-band phone won't work in the US and an 850/1900 phone won't work in Europe. A 900/1900 phone should work on at least one network in most countries around the world.
Manages the use of copyright-protected data such as music, graphics, videos etc. For example, DRM can prohibit you sending a downloaded media file to other media such as CD, DVD, or even PC.
The one-way connection from a server (such as the cellular network) to the user device (such as a mobile phone). Mobile phones typically utilize a two-way connection consisting of downlink and uplink (the connection from the user device to the server) which is asymmetrical - that is, the downlink is much faster than the uplink.
DNSe or the Digital Natural Sound engine is a DSP audio enhancement technology developed by Samsung in 2003 and further on implemented throughout many of their product lineups - from TVs and DVD players to portable music players and lately - mobile phones. As Samsung puts it, the aim of DNSe is to restore the best sonic experience to the end user. Purportedly, the sound engine yields higher quality sound with more natural effects than conventional methods by reproducing the 'genuine' stereo sound intended by the music content creators. It achieves this by actively working on overcoming the limitations of earphones and less-than-ideal speakers to offer realistic stereo and deep bass sounds. In addition, Samsung have created ideal listening presets that further compensate for the native restrictions of portable multimedia players. The system uses several basic processing methods aiming at various imperfections of the sound produced by portable players. Concert Hall recreates life-like reflected and reverberated sounds to simulate the experience of a live performance in a concert hall. 3D speaker separates and combines sound to create realistic sense of both space and distance through small-sized speakers. Clarity enhancement tries to electronically restore the distorted harmonics of the digitally compressed music. Bass Extension applies an electronic harmony logic to correctly play hi-fidelity sounds at an ultra-low frequency through earphones or small-sized speakers. And finally, Street mode selectively adjusts volume so that the tiny notes are audible even in the loud street environment without the uncomfortable boosting of the general volume level. The DNSe sound enhancement system combines those sound enhancements with different equalizer settings to create various user-centric presets to suit the most common listening scenarios. If that is not enough, the system alows creating custom presets as well. Samsung DNSe is not to be confused with the Samsung proprietary DNIe (Digital Natural Image engine) technology. DNIe is used in Samsung plasma and high definition television sets (HDTV). Purportedly, DNIe offers better detail than conventional televisions by using four proprietary processes that optimize and enhance image quality: a Motion Optimizer, a Contrast Enhancer, a Detail Enhancer, and a Color Optimizer.
DLNA refers to both an organization and the technology they created. The DLNA standard is used for sharing music, photos and video over an existing home network. For example, by using DLNA you could stream video from your phone to a compatible TV-set using a Wi-Fi network.
There are lot of display types used in mobile phones. They can be either color or monochrome. Monochrome displays on the other hand can be alphanumeric or graphic. Alphanumeric displays can show only symbols with a constant size, while graphic displays can show fonts of different sizes and animations. The color displays usually are CSTN, TFT, TFD or OLED with a predominant use of TFT displays in current mobile lineups. There are also two types of touchscreen displays - capacitive and resistive, which are both based on TFT technology. CAPACITIVE touchscreens work by sensing the electrical properties of the human body, while RESISTIVE ones operate by sensing direct pressure applied by the user. The RESISTIVE type can be activated by pressing not only with human skin but also with a stylus and thus allow handwriting recognition input.
Zoom is a feature common among cameras and is used to make the subject appear closer. Cameras on mobile phones often have a zoom feature as well but most often it is digital zoom. Digital zoom is implemented in one of two ways:
- Cropping - the software crops the image so that the subject would appear bigger on the screen of the phone but the resulting image is smaller than the maximum resolution of the camera. The photo of the subject does not have any more detail than a non-cropped photo would.
- Stretching - this is similar to cropping but instead it stretches the cropped photo to the selected resolution. Since the stretching is done by an algorithm that uses just the information from the cropped photo no additional detail is visible.
A circular- or square-shaped pad that provides navigation keys for the four directions: up, down, left and right. These are the equivalent of the "arrow keys" on a computer keyboard and are used for navigating the user interface. An enhanced version of the D-pad called an 8-way D-pad allows for scrolling diagonally as well. Some D-Pads have a center button usually called "select" or "OK". It is used to select a highlighted item in the user interface.
Since the display of clamshells is hidden when the phone is closed, many phones include a secondary display on the outside. This display is of lower quality than the main display (lower resolution, may be monochrome, etc.). It is used to display various notifications such as the time, Caller-ID, missed calls. In many camera phones, the external display can act as a viewfinder to help frame self-portrait photos.
A connector that allows an external antenna to be connected to the phone to improve reception indoors or in a car. The jack is usually hidden in some way, most commonly with a rubber plug. Note: not all antenna jacks are the same
Some phones have been designed to let the user remove the covers (front and back) and replace them with others, changing the color, pattern or even the styling of the phone. Some examples include Nokia Xpress-On covers and Sony Ericsson Style-Up covers.
EV-DV is part of the same family of CDMA connectivity as EV-DO. Unlike EV-DO, however, EV-DV also supports voice calls. EV-DV is essentially a combination of EV-DO and 1xRTT. Development of the technology stalled before launch and was superseded by EV-DO plus VoIP.
A 3G technology add-on for CDMA networks that allows for theoretical download speeds as fast as 2.4 Mbps, though actual rates tend to be far slower. There are two major versions: Release 0 and Revision A. Release 0, the original release, is widely deployed. It offers data rates of 2.4 Mbps, with real-life speeds averaging 300-600 Kbps. Revision A introduces enhancements that allow features such as VoIP and video calling. Although EV-DO does not support voice calls natively a future upgrade may enable VoIP.
EMS or the Enhanced Messaging Service is an extension of SMS, which allowed mobile phone to send and receive messages that have special text formatting (such as bold or italic), animations, graphics, sound effects and ringtones. EMS is an intermediate technology between SMS and the rich multimedia messages otherwise known as MMS.
Some phones provide a full email client that can connect to a public or private email server via a wireless data connection(cellular or Wi-Fi). There are different protocols used by the servers and some may not be supported by the phone's email client.
EGSM extends the frequency bands of GSM 900 giving it added network capacity. Most new phones listed as GSM 900 also support EGSM.
A synonym for EDGE.
An optional part of the Bluetooth specification that provides a faster data rate (speed) and possibly improved battery life. Not all Bluetooth devices support EDR and will depend on the Bluetooth version and supported profiles. Both devices need to support EDR, in which case EDR is used automatically.
EDGE (also known as Enhanced GPRS or EGPRS) is a data system used on top of GSM networks. It provides nearly three times faster speeds than the outdated GPRS system. The theoretical maximum speed is 473 kbps for 8 timeslots but it is typically limited to 135 kbps in order to conserve spectrum resources. Both phone and network must support EDGE, otherwise the phone will revert automatically to GPRS. EDGE meets the requirements for a 3G network but is usually classified as 2.75G.
A standard for transferring files over the Internet. Not commonly used on phones, although there is FTP software available for most smartphone platforms.
Measured in hertz (cycles per second), rate of repetition of changes / waves. The term frequency is also used for range (band) on the radio frequency spectrum, such as 800 MHz, 900 MHz or 1900 MHz.
Ratio of data received with errors to total data received. Used to determine the quality of a signal connection. If the FER is too high (too many errors), the connection may be dropped.
This measurement is the video resolution measured in time. 24-30 fps is the normal level for good picture quality. A video with lower framerates appear as “choppy” on screen and fail to capture fast moving objects properly.
This is a special feature supported by some phones, where users can update their handset firmware over the carrier network. It removes the need of special cables, computers or third-party programs.
The general look, or size and shape, of a mobile device. All mobile phones are similar at the physical style level. Most devices fall into one of the following categories: Bar, Clamshell, Flip down, Slide or Swivel. Mobile manufacturers come up with new designs, but the base they use is normally one of these form factors.
An FM transmitter allows a phone to broadcast music stored in its memory on FM frequencies, so that it can be tuned into a nearby FM receiver such as a a car radio. FM transmitters are not a common feature on mobile phones, but such modern models do exist. The mobiles transmit at low power so interference with regular FM radio stations is highly likely – especially in dense urban environments where most of the FM spectrum is already populated by live radio broadcasts. Some embedded FM transmitters allow for transmitting the music details over RDS.
The built-in FM radio tuner is now considered a basic feature. It allows the user to listen to most of the live-broadcasted FM radio stations. Almost all phones with FM radio tuner require a wired headset to be connected to the unit as it’s used as an antenna. Most FM radio tuners can receive basic radio station info over RDS. The use of FM radio does not interfere with the network carrier and it’s free. Nokia enhance their FM radio interfaces with the Visual Radio enhancement that adds visuals and text as an additional info layer to normal radio broadcasts. A presentation of graphics and text, synchronized to the audio programming, gets downloaded to the phone over a data connection; the FM transmission chain is unaffected by the addition of Visual Radio. Here's the type of content that Visual Radio can offer: Information on the song and artist currently playing on air View images related to presenters or news stories A weather map during the weather broadcast News, weather and traffic alerts while songs are playing Listen in to a talk show and see what has been discussed so far Join in audience votes, Big Brother style Participate in on-air competitions You can only use the Visual Radio enhancement via a cellular data connection, as using it over Wi-Fi is not an option.
It’s a mobile phone form factor that’s a cross-over between the Bar and Clamshell form factors. In this case the device is mainly a bar, but a thin "flip" part covers the keypad and/or display when not in use.
Known also as Airplane mode, this mode disables all radio parts of a mobile phone but leaves other functions available. These include music player, organizer and everything that doesn't require the radio transmitters. This mode is required because most airlines forbid the use of wireless devices during flight. Some airlines do not allow the use of such devices even in Airplane mode. There is an industry standard icon to signify that airplane mode is on but not all phones use it. This mode is required for several reasons. Preventing interference with the airplane equipment is the best known one but another reason is that cell towers cannot handle phones moving at high altitudes and speeds.
Flash memory is non-volatile computer memory that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. Non-volatile means that no power is needed to maintain the information stored on the chip. It is a technology that is primarily used in memory cards and USB flash drives as solid state storage and its main purpose is an inexpensive way of storing or transferring data between computers and other digital products. It’s used as primary storage memory on various portable devices due to its low cost, compact size, great physical endurance and low power consumption. The most popular types of flash memory are NAND and NOR.
The camera focus is set to a specific distance by the manufacturer and can’t be adjusted. Fixed focus digital cameras limit the photo quality and the minimum shooting distance (no close-ups are possible). The fixed focus technology uses a very small lens with a tiny aperture, thus making all visible subjects in focus no matter their distance from the camera. Basic mobile phones cameras are usually of the fixed-focus type.
Fixed software programs that internally control various electronic devices or individual hardware parts of these devices (such as mobile phones). They involved very basic low-level operations of the device, without which the device would be completely non-functional. More simple firmwares are usually stored on ROM or OTP/PROM, while more complex firmwares occupy flash memory to allow for updates. Common reasons for updating firmware include fixing bugs or adding features to the device. Doing so usually involves loading a binary image file provided by the manufacturer into the device, according to a specific procedure. More often than not this is meant to be done by the end user.
A small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. The benefits of these portable base stations are similar to the ones of using, for example, regular Wi-Fi access points. They allow the expansion of the corporate telephony and intranet network so it can be used by regular mobile phones. Femtocells are the size of a regular broadband cable router. The small size offers a small area of coverage – in most cases a large-spaced room or two or three separate small rooms. The femtocell can be easily installed by end users, while cellular towers are only installed by the carrier.
A mobile phone that is not smartphone. It has operating system firmware, but third party software support is limited to only Java or BREW applications. Recently feature phones have begun to offer similar features to those of smartphones, so the main difference between the two groups now is the third-party software support.
Known also as the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission is a US government agency controlled by Congress. The FCC monitors and regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, satellite and cable. The FCC also certifies all mobile phones intended for use in the US, insuring compliance with spectrum allocations, technical standards, and safe radiation levels.
The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a specialized circuit designed to accelerate the image output in a frame buffer intended for output to a display. GPUs are very efficient at manipulating computer graphics and are generally more effective than general-purpose CPUs for algorithms where processing of large blocks of data is done in parallel. Modern smartphones are equipped with advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming. GPUs are an essential part of those chipsets and as mobile games are pushing the boundaries of their capabilities, the GPU performance is becoming increasingly important.
Qualcomm's new gpsOneXTRA Assistance technology provides enhanced operation by enabling a user to download a small assistance data file through a brief Internet access session. Network operators who have not yet deployed A-GPS systems can provide their subscribers with enhanced GPS performance on mobile handsets by using Qualcomm's gpsOneXTRA Assistance technology.
gpsOne is the brand name for a mobile GPS chipset manufactured by Qualcomm that allows mobile phones to lock a user’s position faster by using a technology referred to as A-GPS or Assisted-GPS.
Global Positioning System was developed by the United States' Department of Defense. It uses between 24 and 32 Medium Earth Orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals. This enables GPS receivers to determine their current location, time and velocity. The GPS satellites are maintained by the United States Air Force. GPS is often used by civilians as a navigation system. On the ground, any GPS receiver contains a computer that "triangulates" its own position by getting bearings from at least three satellites. The result is provided in the form of a geographic position - longitude and latitude - to, for most receivers, within an accuracy of 10 to 100 meters. Software applications can then use those coordinates to provide driving or walking instructions. Getting a lock on by the GPS receivers on the ground usually takes some time especially where the receiver is in a moving vehicle or in dense urban areas. The initial time needed for a GPS lock is usually dependent on how the GPS receiver starts. There are three types of start - hot, warm and cold. The hot start is when the GPS device remembers its last calculated position and the satellites in view, the almanac used (information about all the satellites in the constellation), the UTC Time and makes an attempt to lock onto the same satellites and calculate a new position based upon the previous information. This is the quickest GPS lock but it only works if you are generally in the same location as you were when the GPS was last turned off. The warm start is when the GPS device remembers its last calculated position, almanac used, and UTC Time, but not which satellites were in view. It then performs a reset and attempts to obtain the satellite signals and calculates a new position. The receiver has a general idea of which satellites to look for because it knows its last position and the almanac data helps identify which satellites are visible in the sky. This takes longer than a hot start but not as long as a cold start. And finally – the cold start is when the GPS device dumps all the information, attempts to locate satellites and then calculates a GPS lock. This takes the longest because there is no known information. The GPS receiver has to attempt to lock onto a satellite signal from any available satellites, basically like polling, which takes a lot longer than knowing which satellites to look for. This GPS lock takes the longest. In an attempt to improve lock times, cellphone manufacturers and operators have introduced the Assisted GPS technology, which downloads the current ephemeris for a few days ahead via the wireless networks and helps triangulate the general user’s position with the cell towers thus allowing the GPS receiver to get a faster lock at the expense of several (kilo)bytes.
General Packet Radio Service is a packet-switching technology that enables data transfers through cellular networks. It is used for mobile internet, MMS and other data communications. In theory the speed limit of GPRS is 115 kbps, but in most networks it is around 35 kbps. Informally, GPRS is also called 2.5G.
Geo-tagging is a function, where GPS-enabled devices can insert metadata with geographical information (coordinates) into a file such as photo, associating it with the geographic location it was taken at. Some new cameraphones support automatic geo-tagging of any pictures taken. Geo-tags can be read by any device or desktop computer software which reads geo-tagging metadata, such as image editors and online image galleries.
1 Gbps = 1024 Mbps. Gbps measures data transmission over a carrier.
1GB is equal to approximately 1 billion bytes or exactly 1024 MB.
A unit of frequency measurement equal to one cycle per second.
A standard markup language used to create web pages. It was designed with desktop computers in mind and web pages may have reduced usability when viewed on devices with smaller screens and limited input options (as is the case with most mobile phones). There is a newer format called XHTML that is better suited for mobile devices.
An upgrade for UMTS/HSDPA networks that increases upload data speeds up to 5.76 Mbps. HSUPA together with HSDPA are sometimes referred to as HSPA. The standard is backwards compatible with UMTS and HSDPA and will work with devices supporting only those standards. HSUPA only handles the uplink while the downlink is handled by a related technology called HSDPA.
A Bluetooth profile that enables wireless connection between a phone and a Bluetooth headset. It supports simultaneous two-way audio but not stereo. It is one of the most common profiles with only a small number of phones supporting only the similar Handsfree profile. HSP is used by other devices as well, a Bluetooth-enabled PC with VoIP software such as Skype for example.
An upgrade for UMTS networks that doubles network capacity and increases download data speeds by five times or more. The service was initially deployed at 1.8 Mbps but upgrades to the networks and new user devices led to increased rates of 3.6 Mbps, followed by 7.2 Mbps. HSDPA only handles the downlink while the uplink is handled by a related technology called HSUPA. The combination of both technologies is usually called HSPA.
A system for data calls on GSM networks that came before packet based systems such as GPRS and EDGE. HSCSD is the "high-speed" variant of CSD (maximum speed of 9.6 kbps) that has better error-correction codes that give a boost in speed of about 50% and allows several call channels to be used as one - up to four channels - resulting in a maximum speed of 57.6 kbps. HSCSD was never widely adopted outside Europe.
Inserting or removing an external peripheral device (such as flash memory or hard drive) from a host (a mobile phone or desktop computer) while the host is still operating. "Hot swappable" refers to a component's ability to be operated in such way. In mobile phones, this usually refers to the ability to insert or remove the memory card without switching off the device.
An area where users can access Wi-Fi services to access the Internet if they have the appropriate device. Hot spots vary in area of coverage. They are usually public and many charge users by the day or month. However, some are free - for example privately owned in restaurants or cafes or public in universities and schools.
A category of technology that provides physical feedback when the user interacts with virtual things. This could be "pressing" a button on a touch screen or "feeling" the rough edge of the road in a racing game. The feedback is implemented as vibration.
The ability of a device or software program to analyze the shape of cursive or printed handwriting drawn on a touchscreen and then translate it into letters, words, numbers, and punctuation marks. Most devices that have touchscreens have built-in handwriting recognition capability. Input is best done using a stylus. It should be noted that only devices using resistive type of touchscreen readily allows for input with various objects. The capacitive touchscreen devices can accept only human finger input.
A keyboard layout similar to QWERTY but having two letters per key. The basic arrangement is the same, however the keyboard is narrower which makes it suitable for use with one hand and it fits more easily in the lower part of a bar-shaped device. Predictive text is almost always used auto-suggest words allowing users to press a button only once.
A video codec standard originally designed as a low-bitrate compressed format for videoconferencing. It has been widely adopted as the standard for video streaming over mobile networks. Standard image sizes specified by H.263 include SQCIF (128 x 96 pixels), QCIF (176 x 144), and CIF (352 x 288) resolutions. H.263 handles only the visual part of a video stream, the audio is encoded using audio encoders such as AMR.
- A standard for transmitting data using an infrared port. Transfer speeds are roughly the same as traditional parallel ports.
- The industry group that created the IrDA technical standard.
IP is the the protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched network used in most publicly accessible networks today. Connections that mobile devices make to GPRS, 3G and similar networks are made using IP.
IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number that uniquely identifies a GSM or UMTS mobile phone. It consists of four parts and provides information, such as the manufacturer, to the mobile network. It is usually printed on the device under the battery. IMEI can be used to "ban" a stolen phone, making it hard to use by the thief with a new SIM card.
An Internet protocol used by email clients to access messages from a server. IMAP is a newer alternative to POP3. Unlike POP3, which only downloads the messages, IMAP synchronizes them with the email server and tracks changes in their status. Another feature of IMAP is that it allows messages to be organized by folders and the email client setup to use IMAP access will also synchronize the folders beside the emails themselves.
A TDMA based digital mobile network system. It was developed by Motorola, which remains the main manufacturer for iDEN devices. The main advantage of iDEN is the Push-To-Talk system, which enables mobile phones to be used as walkie-talkies. Newer iDEN phones use a SIM card that is compatible with GSM phones for international roaming, but only a few phones support both standards.
Often stands for "Java ME" (the new name of J2ME, Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition). Java ME is a platform for applications running on mobile phones. These, mainly small, applications (e.g. games) can be downloaded from the Internet directly to the phone using its built-in web-browser.
A dedicated switch/key/button that locks (and unlocks) a device's keypad.
A feature allowing you to lock the keyboard to avoid any accidental dialing of a number or pressing of keys while carrying the phone in a pocket or bag. The keyboard is unlocked by a special sequence of keys unlikely to be pressed accidentally.
A unit of data transfer rate equal to 1024 bits per second.
A unit of digital information equal to 1024 bytes. Also abbreviated as kB, K and Kbyte.
The loudspeaker is a small sound driver fitted within a mobile phone, or other communication device, which is used to produce sound. Traditionally, loudspeakers on mobile phones are used to produce sound alerts for events such as incoming calls, incoming messages and alarms. Since mobile phones have started doubling as portable music players in recent years, users have begun using their built-in speakers for playback of music. Acknowledging this new type of use of the mobile phone loudspeaker, manufacturers have begin to equip their music or video-centric mobiles with more powerful loudspeakers or even a pair of loudspeakers for accurate stereo reproduction and enhanced spatial effects. Loudspeakers are also used to reproduce voice calls out loud, thus allowing users to deal with calls hands-free or even have conference calls with others in the same room (that use of the mobile phone is called a speakerphone, which is not to be confused with a loudspeaker). Loudspeaker implementation can vary from model to model. For example, in order to save space and make phones thinner, some manufacturers don't use a dedicated loudspeaker but instead use the earpiece speaker to produce sound alerts as well. One way or another, whether you use it for fun, conference calls or just for plain ringing, there is one single thing that's important - loudness. We had explored this in depth in our reviews besides the casual subjective remark, but in 2007 we decided it was time we took a more scientific approach. So we got ourselves a handy piece of equipment - a digital noise/loudness meter - in order to start measuring objectively that all-important aspect of modern handsets - how loud is the loudspeaker in reality. So, for the record, here is how our test setup goes. We do our tests in one and the same quiet room taking sound measurements with the handset loudspeaker facing the microphone at a distance of exactly 1 m. We do three different tests. For each test we make several consecutive measurements - we usually disregard the highest and the lowest readings and we take the average value of the rest. The three tests are as follows: 1) A phone ringing. We use an old-school ringtone, resembling the ringing of an old phone. It seems that most phones do well when we use it. 2) Pink noise. We use a sample of pink noise. Our readings with it are pretty indicative on how well the handset loudspeaker would fare with standard music. Teenagers definitely appreciate a handset that will allow them to crank up the volume as high as possible. 3) Human voice, male. This is an important test, since if you tend the use the loudspeaker for speakerphone purposes, loudness is really important, regardless of whether you are in a conference room or in your car.
LTE is the next-step of the evolution of UMTS (3G) and HSDPA (3.5G). It's what is technically correct called 4G. Some carries market especially high speed 3.5G HSDPA as 4G network, but that's not correct. Some of the improvements LTE brings along over the currently used wireless mobile radio technologies are a better spectral efficiency, lower costs, higher transfer speeds, improved services, etc. LTE networks are widely commercially available in the USA. In Europe the network standard is not as widely spread and there are individual networks available only in some cities. Theoretically, LTE networks should provide wireless data download speeds of up to 300Mbps and wireless download speeds of up to 75Mbps.
Also known as "Concatenated SMS".
A code preventing the unauthorized use of a mobile phone. the user isn't given access to the phone without entering the right sequence of numbers using the keypad. Only emergency or other predefined numbers may be dialed while the mobile phone is locked.
A term that refers to a wide range of services based (or enhanced by) information about the physical location of a user and/or device. Typical examples of location-based services for consumers are real-time turn-by-turn navigation, the location of the nearest restaurant or hotel, vehicle tracking etc. For a location-based service to work there are some requirements to be fulfilled. The network must support it, and certain technologies must be built into the mobile phone (such as GPS and A-GPS).
A family of open-source operating systems. There are a lot of variants of Linux available and they are developed and maintained by diverse working groups. There are also some Linux-based OSes for mobile devices (e.g. Android or Maemo).
This stands for a type of rechargeable battery which has evolved technologically from Lithium-Ion batteries. Current lithium-polymer batteries are actually Lithium-Ion Polymer and perform similarly to Lithium-Ion batteries. The advantage however of Li-Polymer batteries is that they can be made much thinner. Generally, they don't suffer from the so-called "memory effect" common to NiCd and NiMH batteries.
This stands for a type of rechargeable battery. They are much lighter than earlier battery types (NiCd and NiMH), have a long life cycle and generally don't suffer from the so-called "memory effect".
A semiconductor diode that emits light when charged with electricity. They come in diverse colors and some LEDs even contain multiple elements and are therefore capable of emitting light with different colors. LEDs are used for displays, for keypad or display backlighting, etc. Bright white LEDs also can be used as flashlights and flashes for mobile phones. Even if they are not as bright as the xenon flash, LEDs are much more compact and require less energy - and also can be used as video light.
A liquid crystal display is the most common display type among mobile phones because of its low power consumption and good image quality. They are generally easy to read, even under direct sunlight. The smallest element of an image displayed on a LCD is the pixel. Each pixel normally consists of a layer of molecules aligned between two transparent electrodes, and two polarizing filters. Some of the types of LCD displays are STN, TFT and TFD. The first one, STN, offers low cost and low power consumption, but low image quality. TFT features greater image quality and response time, yet its displays are more expensive and need more power. Three other types of LCDs are transmissive, reflective, or transflective. Transmissive displays offer nicer image quality in low or medium ambient light, while reflective ones work best in bright ambient light. Transflective displays combine the best of both.
Non-wireless telephone connection.
Comes from "MOdulator/DEModulator". A device or a component of a device used for transferring information. Information is encoded (the modem modulates the signal) and decoded (the signal is being demodulated) so it can be transmitted easily over a network (wireless, as well).
Mobile WiMAX (WiMAX comes from "Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access") is a technical wireless standard allowing web browsing and wireless data transfer on the move. It's an another way of calling the 802.16e protocol. WiMAX technology provides the equivalent of broadband speeds without the need for cables, and service coverage can extend over an entire city, region or even a whole country. Access to the WiMAX wireless service is subject to a monthly subscription and it requires the use of a dedicated WiMAX modem, which is usually supplied for free by the operator. WiMAX technology allows for data transfer speeds of up to 75Mbps, but in reality they tend to be a lot lower than that, at around 1-10 Mbps tops.
Mobile Instant Messaging is the ability to engage in Instant Messaging services from a mobile handset. Mobile IM allows users to address messages to others using a dynamic address book full of users with their online status updated constantly. That allows anyone participating to know when their "buddies" are available for chat. The advantage of mobile IM is that messages are sent and received in real-time via mobile handsets on-the-go without a stationary computer. Mobile IM is seen as a natural evolution of the popular SMS service. Mobile IM is available from some operators or mobile phone manufacturers now, but unfortunately, it is not always possible to use IM services between different operators. When we state IM in our specs sheet that usually means the phone is equipped with a proprietary IM solution. Those solutions frequently rely on either carrier support or can be used between users with handsets of one and the same make. Fortunately, popular third-party IM providers such as ICQ, Skype, Google Talk, MSN, AOL, Yahoo, etc. are alleviating the situation by making their own mobile applications allowing mobile phones to engage in Instant Messaging independently of their carrier or mobile phone manufacturer. The only prerequisite is having internet access on the go - over GPRS or 3G.
Many phones include simple games for the user to pass the time. The games referred to here are ones preinstalled on the phone and do not require a wireless connection to play. With mobile phones getting ever more powerful, the games are following suit in terms of complexity and graphics. Some phones even have dedicated gaming keys and even look like portable mini gaming consoles. Some of the latest phones have a built-in accelerometer sensor, which can be utilized by games to provide more interactive gameplay. In those so-called motion-based games, you can steer, for instance, by tilting your phone in the respective direction. Usually, when there are some games preinstalled, more can be downloaded over the air using the phone's built-in web browser or they can be downloaded onto a desktop computer and then transferred to the mobile phone via a data cable. There are several different technologies for downloadable games for feature phones, including Java, BREW, Mophun, and WGE. The technologies are incompatible between each other, although some phones support more than one of them. Additionally, native mobile games for smartphones with their respective mobile OSs also represent a large share of the mobile game market. Bear in mind that a certain mobile phone model can be bundled with different games depending on the regional market or even the network carrier.
Abbreviated as MMS, the Multimedia Messaging Service is a store and forward messaging service that allows subscribers to exchange multimedia files as messages. MMS supports the transmission of various media types: text, picture, audio, video, or a combination of all four. The originator can easily create a Multimedia Message, by snaping a photo with the phone camera, or by using images and sounds stored previously in the phone (or downloaded from a web site). If the recipient phone is not switched on or it has not been setup to receive MMS messages, the Multimedia Message will be stored in a special repository offered by the GSM carrier. In order to send or receive a MMS, the user must have a compatible phone that is running over a GPRS or 3G network. Most current mobile phones and operator networks support MMS. The maximum message size (along with the attachments) is generally limited to 300KB (MMS 1.2), but recently the MMS 1.3 standard has allowed for a maximum size of 600KB. Wireless carriers however can impose their own size restrictions. Whenever possible we will try and state the MMS version supported by the individual handsets in our database.
A memory card is a flash memory data storage device used in a wide range of digital devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, etc. They are small, rugged and offer high re-record ability and power-free operation. There is a wide range of memory card formats. MMC (which stands for "Multi Media Card") is one of the oldest formats and has been replaced by newer ones like SD, microSD and microSDHC. MMCmobile cards are based on the RS-MMC cards and share the same mini form factor. The difference between them is that MMCmobile cards are dual-voltage and can operate in older phones with a high-voltage (3V) slot as well as in newer models with a low-voltage (1.8V) slot. The MMCmobile standard is now considered an outdated standard and has been replaced by newer ones like microSD and microSDHC.
A memory card is a flash memory data storage device used in a wide range of digital devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, etc. They are small, rugged and offer high re-record ability and power-free operation. There is a wide range of memory card formats. MMC (which stands for "Multi Media Card") is one of the oldest formats and has been replaced by newer ones like SD, microSD and microSDHC. Physically, it's fully compatible with SD cards.
A memory card is a flash memory data storage device used in a wide range of digital devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, etc. They are small, rugged and offer high re-record ability and power-free operation. There is a wide range of memory card formats, miniSD (SD stand for Secure Digital) being one of them. It's now considered an outdated standard and in the current generation of portable devices has been replaced by the microSD and microSDHC formats.
A type of USB connector. USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus". Devices connected to the computer using a USB cable can flawlessly transfer files and information between the phone and the computer (if Mass Storage mode is supported files can be transferred without the need of special drivers or software). Some devices can be charged when the USB cable is connected to the computer. There are different USB interfaces: Mini-USB (with two subtypes - Mini-A and Mini-B) is one of them,but it's in the process of being replaced by the newer and slimmer Micro-USB interface. The miniUSB connector however is still the most popular connector type in portable devices.
Comes from "Military Specification/Standard". With regards to mobile phones, it normally refers to the US Army's set of standards, called MIL-STD 810. These standards specify the requirements that a rugged device must fulfill, such as surviving certain environmental conditions. There are lots of sub-categories of the MIL-STD 810 referring to different extreme conditions. As only a few devices support all sub-categories, it is important to note exactly which of them is supported by a certain device. A capital letter added to the name indicates which specifications are met - MIL-STD 810F for example means resistance to rain, shock, vibration, dust, humidity, salt fog and extreme temperatures.
A standardized runtime environment allowing the use of Java on embedded devices (e.g. mobile phones). It is based on J2ME. Newer versions of MIDP (e.g. MIDP 2.0) increase functionality by adding additional APIs.
A set of specifications allowing computers, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, sound cards, samplers and drum machines to control one another and exchange system data. MIDI files keep information that describes the instruments, notes and timing of the music. This can then be recreated on MIDI-capable devices as music. More sophisticated MIDI devices can not only reproduce consecutive notes (monophony) but are able to create realistic-sounding music by synthesizing several notes simultaneously - polyphony. The more notes the synthesizer can play simultaneously, the nicer it sounds. MIDI files were commonly used as mobile phone ringtones before the support for the MP3/AAC standard was widely adopted.
A messaging and collaborative software product developed by Microsoft as a PC-based e-mail server. Targeted at the corporate world, Exchange's major features consist of electronic mail, shared calendars and tasks, and support for mobile and Web-based access to email accounts and information, as well as support for very large amounts of data storage.
The microSDHC cards (HC as in High Capacity) upgrade the microSD standard. They have the same physical dimensions but offer higher capacities (4-16 GB) than the regular ones (64MB-2 GB).
A memory card is a flash memory data storage device used in a wide range of digital devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, etc. They are small, rugged and offer high re-record ability. There is a wide range of memory card formats. MicroSD (SD stands for "Secure Digital") and M2 (memory Stick Micro) are the smallest at the current time. The microSD format was originally called TransFlash or T-Flash.
A type of USB connector. USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus". Devices connected to the computer using a USB cable can easily exchange files and information (if the device supports Mass Storage mode, the files can be transferred without the need for special drivers or software). Some devices can be charged via the USB cable when connected to the computer. There are different USB interfaces: MicroUSB (with two subtypes - Micro-A and Micro-B) is one of them, and was developed to replace the older MiniUSB interface. However, the latter is still the most popular connector type in portable devices.
Herz is a measure of frequency per unit of time, or the number of cycles per second. The most common uses for hertz are to describe radio and audio frequencies. It`s abbreviated as Hz. 1 Megahertz, or 1 MHz, is equal to 1 million Hz.
In addition to pure voice calls, all GSM carriers also offer messaging services and messaging has been a core service since the beginning of GSM mobile telephony. Mobile messaging ranges from SMS, through EMS, to IM and Email.
Describes the gradual shortening of a battery's life if the battery is recharged before it is completely discharged. It is most common with nickel-based batteries such as NiCd and NiMH types.
A special slot for inserting a memory card. Memory cards allow you to expand the phone's built-in memory (or in the past these slots have been used to add some missing features such as Wi-Fi connectivity). Memory cards have different capacities and are used to store and transfer files between compatible devices. There are several types of memory cards. The most popular and frequently used by mobile phone manufacturers is microSD; however, up until recently Sony Ericsson exclusively used the Memory Stick Micro (M2) card type developed by Sony. Memory card slots can have various supported memory card capacities. Depending on the device, card slots can support capacities of up to 2, 4, 8, 16 or even the yet unavailable 32GB. As manufacturers rarely test their products for compatibility with newer and larger cards that come out after a specific handset is out on the market, whenever it is possible, we try to verify that larger capacity cards run on older phones. When we confirm that a mobile phone works with a larger capacity memory card than what the manufacturer has advertized, we usually put that down in the phone specs sheet in our database. That way, when you see the word "verified" in the Card slot field, you will know our reviewing team has personally tested the device for compatibility with the stated capacity and they are compatible even though it may not be officially stated so by the manufacturer. Still, you should take that information with a pinch of salt, as your mileage with your specific unit may vary.
One million pixels. Pixel comes from "pix" (for "picture") and el (for "element"). A pixel is the smallest piece of information on an image. This is a unit for measuring image resolution, and the more pixels a picture consists of, the more detailed it is.
A unit of data transfer rate equal to 1,048,576 bits per second or 1,024 kilobits per second.
A unit of digital information equal to 1,048,576 bytes or 1024 kilobytes.
A standard mode allowing compatible phones to be connected to a computer's USB port and be used as a removable storage drive without the need for any special drivers. Usually, in Mass Storage mode, the phone's memory is mounted as a removable drive by the computer OS and cannot be used by the phone itself. That's the reason why some phones only allow an inserted memory card to be mounted in Mass Storage mode thus keeping their system partition inaccessible on the computer in this mode.
An ampere-hour or amp-hour (Ah) is a unit of electric charge. Smaller batteries however, such as those in mobile phones and digital cameras, are often rated in milliampere-hours. The milliampere-hour (mAh) is one-thousandth of an ampere-hour and is a technical term for how much electrical charge a particular battery will hold. As an example, using higher mAh batteries in a device with constant electrical consumption will theoretically give you longer operating times.
Most often this term is use to describe the macro mode of a camera. This mode allows the taking of photos from extremely short distance unlike close-ups, which also need an auto focus lens but are shot from a slightly greater distance.