There are lots of factors we consider before purchasing a mobile device. One of those factors is the specifications of that particular phone. But how many people actually know the meaning and importance of this specs? How many people know the meaning and functions of RAM , GPU , Chipsets , Quadcore processors , Etc?? This article will enlighten you more on mobile specs and their functions.
Terminologies in mobile technology are very enormous , so we narrowed them down to the most common ones. Find them below ;
Android : is a linux based smartphone operating system developed by Android Inc. But acquired by google. See more about android on Android Glossary
A-GPS (Assisted 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.
AMOLED display (Active-matrix organic light- emitting diode) : 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.
APN (Access Point Name) : 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.
Apple iOs :Apple’s iOS is the company’s own mobile operating system developed and originally released on the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPod Touch back in 2007.
Several years later it was renamed to iOS and was extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPad and the Apple TV.
Unlike Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Apple does not license iOS to other manufacturers and it is the sole maker and seller of iOS devices.
Audio Jack : is 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.
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.
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.
Blackberry OS : is a proprietary mobile operating system developed by Research In Motion (RIM) for its BlackBerry line of smartphones.
The BlackBerry platform is perhaps best known for its native support for the corporate communication environment, which allows complete wireless activation and synchronization of email, calendar, tasks, notes, and contacts.
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.
Camera : 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.
Capacitive Touchscreen : 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.
Chipset : 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.
Corning Gorilla Glass :Gorilla Glass is the registered trademark for a toughened glass, manufactured by U.S. glassmaker Corning, Inc.
It became highly popular as a cover glass for portable electronic devices such as high-end mobile phones.
The manufacturer claims that Gorilla Glass offers high scratch resistance and incredible hardness, which allows the use of thinner glass panels on devices, without the inherent fragility, which traditionally comes with thinner thickness.
The invention for manufacturing this sort of protective glass had supposedly been gathering dust for quite some years in Corning’s warehouse, until Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO back then, commissioned Corning to develop a new scratch proof display cover glass for the first iPhone.
The rise of touchscreen phones popularity since then has turned the manufacturing of Gorilla Glass into a lucrative business niche for Corning.
CPU (Central Processing Unit) : CPU also known as 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
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.
Cyanogen Mod : CyanogenMod (pronounced sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod), is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for several Android devices. Based on the Android Open Source
Project, CyanogenMod is designed to increase performance and reliability over Android-based ROMs released by vendors and carriers such as Google, T-Mobile, HTC, etc.
CyanogenMod also offers a variety of features & enhancements that are not currently found in these versions of Android.
Dual-SIM : This specifies whether a device is capable of supporting two SIM cards. The two major types of dual-SIM phones are active and standby. Dual-SIM Standby (DSS) requires the
user to specify which of the two SIMs is able to make and receive calls, while Dual-SIM Active (DSA) enables both cards
to receive calls at the same time.
This latter feature usually requires an additional transceiver for the secondary SIM card, and as such consumes more battery life. More recent models feature Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) technology which enables them to have two active SIMs with only one transceiver.
Display Type : 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.
EDGE : 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.
Firmware :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.
GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) :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.
GPS (Global Positioning System) : 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.
Hot Spot : is 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.
IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) : 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.
Java : 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.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) : LTE is the next-step of the evolution of UMTS (3G) and HSDPA (3.5G). It’s the only wireless network technology that’s correctly called 4G. Some carries may market their high-speed HSDPA+ networks as 4G, but that’s not technically 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 available in the USA by carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. In Europe, the network standard is not as widely spread and have limited coverage.
mAh : 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.
Mass Storage Mode : 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.
Megapixel : 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.
Memory card slot : 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).
Music Playback Time : Music playback time is the officially quoted longest time that a single battery charge will last when you use the phone as a music player only.
NFC (Near Field Communication) : NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 cm distance.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer : A company manufacturing products that are branded and sold by another company. Often if the product was originally designed by the OEM that is called an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer).
OS(Operating System) : The Operating system is a base infrastructure software component of a computerized system. It controls all basic operations of the computer (or other electronic devices such as PDA, smartphone, etc.). The Operating System allows the user to install and execute third-party applications (commonly called apps for short), usually adding new functionality to the device.
Among the most popular computer operating systems are Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS, along with the various distributions of Linux.
OTA (Over-The-Air) : Over-the-air is any method of making data transfers or transactions wirelessly using the cellular network instead of a cable or other local connection.
Most commonly, this term refers to downloading or uploading content or software (such as downloading ringtones, uploading images, etc.).
If the term is used for updating a phone’s firmware this is also known as FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air).
PIN code (Personal Identification Number) : In mobile devices, the PIN acts like a password preventing other people from gaining unauthorized access to your device. This is a numeric code which must be entered each time the device is started (unless the PIN security feature is turned off).
In GSM mobile phones, the PIN is normally associated with the SIM card (not the phone) and must be entered each time the phone is switched on. If a wrong PIN is entered three times in a row the handset is locked until you enter another code, called a PUK code.
Both the PIN and the PUK codes are supplied by the operator, but only the PIN code can be changed by the user.
PTT (Push To Talk) : A two-way communication service which works like a “walkie-talkie”.
PTT is half-duplex so communication can only be transferred in one direction at a time in contrast to mobile phone calls which are full-duplex and both parties can hear each other.
PTT requires the person speaking to press a certain button while talking and to release it when they are done so the listener can answer by repeating the same steps. In this way people control which one can speak and be heard and the system knows in which direction the information should be transferred.
QWERTY Keyboard Layout ; Stands for a standard layout for letter keys on text keyboards. This term comes from the first six letter on the top row of a standard English keyboard and refers to devices that offer a keyboard with that kind of layout.
Such a keyboard makes typing much easier and faster even though sometimes (on mobile devices such as mobile phones) keys are small and placed too close to each other.
RAM : This is the memory where the software resides while it is running along with the data it is using. RAM is used by both OS and application software.
RAM is very fast but volatile, meaning that all information is lost when electric power is cut off. That makes it useful for temporary storage of data that requires fast access.
Normally, devices with RAM also have another type of storage memory (flash memory or a hard drive) that stores the information while the power is off.
Devices with more RAM can run more complex software and multiple applications at the same time.
ROM : A form of data storage. This type of memory keeps the saved data even if the device power is off. The data on the ROM can be loaded into the RAM if needed.
The word Read-Only identifies it as “read-only memory”, since the reprogramming process is generally infrequent, comparatively slow, and often does not permit random access writes to individual memory locations.
Tethering : In the context of GSM mobile phones, tethering describes the process of connecting a phone to a computer so that the computer can access the internet via an EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA network. In this way, the mobile phone acts as a modem for the computer.
That specific use of the word “tethering” stems from the fact that to be used as a modem, the mobile phone usually has to be connected to the computer via a USB data cable. In recent years however the same thing has become possible without cables by using a Bluetooth connection.
Thus, tethering has turned into a generic term for using your mobile phone as a GSM modem for your computer.
Some carriers require that you sign up for special plans in order to use your phone for tethering, while for others it’s simply a matter of paying the data traffic used, much like you pay for browsing on your mobile phone.
Voip : A set of communication protocols that allows remote users to securely access a remote network. An example of this technology is when you access your corporate Intranet remotely from your mobile phone.
If your company has a VPN server set up, you can enter the connection details on a supported device and join the corporate Intranet with all user rights and privileges you would have if you were physically there. At the same time, the connection remains secure from unauthorized access.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology. It provides short-range wireless high-speed data connections between mobile data devices (such as laptops, PDAs or phones) and nearby Wi-Fi access points (special hardware connected to a wired network).
The older variant of Wi-Fi, 802.11g, is capable of providing speeds of up to 54Mbps and is backwards compatible with 802.11b (providing up to 11Mbps).
The more recent standard is called 802.11n (offering speeds of up to 150Mbps per channel or up to 600Mbps in total). It can be used in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands, though a receiver needs to have dual-band antenna to operate on both.
2013 saw the birth of the latest (so far) Wi-Fi ac standard. It allows for speeds of up to 500 Mbps per channel and over 1Gbps in total. Wi-Fi 802.11ac operates only on the 5GHz band.
Wi-Fi is much faster than any data technologies operating through the cellular network like GPRS, EDGE and even UMTS and HSDPA.
The range covered by a Wi-Fi access point is from 30 to 100 meters indoors while outdoors a single access point can cover about 650 meters.
You can add yours in the comment box. Also read on ; Android Glossary
Credit : GSMArena
image via ; termcoord.eu