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Tamil Software
அழகி மென்பொருள்
Tamil-English bilingual webmagazine dedicated to education of the masses through E-books, articles, worldwide informations, Slideshows,
Presentations on various subjects, photographs and images, moral and objective oriented stories and Lectures including audio and video

How much do you know about mobile?

Courtesy: K. Thiagarajan, Chennai


GSM 850 (GSM 800) is simply GSM technology operating in the Cellular (850 MHz or "800") frequency band. Both the technology and frequency band have been around for many years, but not until 2002 were they combined. In the U.S. prior to 2002, GSM technology only operated in the PCS (1900 MHz) frequency band. Cellular (850) and PCS (1900) are the two primary bands used for cell phones in the U.S. and much of the Americas. GSM 850 was created for carriers with Cellular (850) licenses when they switched from other, older technologies to GSM. Before the existence of GSM 850, the Cellular band was commonly referred to as the "800 MHz" band. "850 MHz" implies a different frequency band, but this is not the case. "800 MHz" and "850 MHz" refer to the exact same frequency band. 850 is technically a more accurate description of the frequency range, although "800" is still common when referring to CDMA and AMPS (analog) technology. Despite the close number, GSM 850 is not compatible with GSM 900 used in Europe and Asia. A phone that only has GSM 850 cannot work on a GSM 900 network, nor vice-versa.


In wireless communication, band refers to a contiguous range of radio frequencies. Currently, wireless communication service providers use the Cellular (850 MHz) and PCS (1900) MHz bands for transmission in the United States.


A designation indicating that a phone supports two different frequency bands. Not meaningful without knowing which two bands and which technologies the phone will work with. For North American TDMA and CDMA phones, dual-band indicates that the phone will work in both the 800/850 MHz band and the 1900 MHz band. Most current TDMA phones in the U.S. are tri-mode, meaning they can use both analog and digital in the 800/850 band. Dual-band CDMA phones can be dual-mode or tri-mode. Dual-mode phones only support analog or digital on the 800/850 band, while tri-mode phones support both. The 1900 MHz band is always digital., A dual-band GSM phone supports two of the four major GSM bands. Depending on which bands, the phone may only work in certain parts of the world. A GSM 850/1900 phone will only in the Americas. A GSM 900/1800 phone will only work in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Brazil. A GSM 900/1900 phone will work on at least one network in most countries around the world.


A GSM phone that supports three of the four major GSM frequency bands, and will therefore work in most parts of the world.There are two major types of tri-band GSM phones: European and Americas.European tri-band phones support the 900, 1800, and 1900 frequency bands. They provide complete coverage in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and work on at least one network in most countries in the Americas. Americas tri-band phones support the 800/850, 1800, and 1900 frequency bands. They provide complete coverage in the Americas, and will work on at least one network in most countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. NOTE: This definition applies to the U.S. and Canada, and may not be accurate for other countries.


Designates a GSM phone that supports all four major GSM frequency bands, making it compatible with all major GSM networks worldwide.The four bands include the 850 and 1900 MHz bands - used in the Americas - and 900 / 1800, used in most other parts of the world. Compared to a tri-band phone supporting the 900 / 1800 / 1900 bands, a quad-band phone adds support for GSM 850 for full coverage in the Americas. Compared to a tri-band phone supporting the 850 / 1800 / 1900 bands, a quad-band phone adds support for GSM 900 for full coverage in Europe and Asia. Complete

Music Player

The phone includes memory storage for MP3, AAC or similar music files, and software for playing that music. Generally, music can be downloaded into the phone from a computer and played back later through a headset attached to the phone.Newer phones with High-Speed Data may support downloading music directly over the mobile network.


TShort for MPEG Layer 3. MP3 is a common file format for music and other audio content. It is commonly used on the Internet, on PCs, and on portable devices, including dedicated music players and phones with music player functionality. Some phones that do not have full music-player functions may support the MP3 format for short music clips that play as ring tones. Unlike some formats, MP3 files usually do not include DRM technology that would limit playback and sharing. MP3 files can be created at different "bit rates". Higher bit rates offer better sound quality, but also increase file size, requiring more memory space to store.


TShort for Advanced Audio Coding. AAC is a file format for music and other audio content. It is commonly used on the Internet, on PCs, and on portable devices, including dedicated music players and phones with music player functionality. AAC is a newer alternative to MP3. Compared to MP3, AAC is designed to have better sound quality with smaller file sizes (requiring less memory). AAC is also designed to work with DRM technologies that control how the music files can be played and/or shared to enforce copyrights. Newer and better versions include AAC+ and AAC++.


Some phones include an integrated FM radio for listening to live-broadcast FM radio stations. Some phones with this feature require that a headset be connected to use this feature, so that the headset wire can be used as an antenna.



A family of standards for digital video. For video, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are the most common. Most popular video formats are based on one of those two technologies, with MPEG-4 being the newer, more efficient standard.

CIF (Common Intermediate Format)

A standard size for images produced by low-resolution digital cameras and video cameras. CIF images are 352 pixels wide and 288 pixels tall (352 x 288). CIF is larger than QCIF and QVGA, but smaller than VGA.

QCIF (Quarter Common Intermediate Format.)

A standard size for images produced by low-resolution digital cameras and video cameras. QCIF images are 176 pixels wide and 144 pixels tall (176 x 144). QCIF is smaller than CIF, QVGA, and VGA.

VGA (Video Graphics Array)

A standard size/resolution for digital cameras, images (files), and displays. VGA size is 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels tall (or vice-versa in portrait orientation).VGA is larger than CIF, QCIF, and QVGA, but smaller than SVGA, XGA, and megapixel.

QVGA (Quarter-VGA)

An image size of 320 x 240 pixels. This can refer to the size/resolution of a display, an image (file), or a camera. QVGA is a common size for high-resolution phone displays, and also for video captured by some high-end phones. Higher resolution offers more detail. QVGA is larger (higher resolution) than QCIF, but smaller than VGA. VGA is 640 x 480 pixels. QVGA is therefore one-quarter the area, hence the name Quarter-VGA(QVGA).

SVGA (Super-VGA (Video Graphics Array)

A standard size/resolution for images (files), and displays. SVGA size is 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall (or vice-versa in portrait orientation). SVGA is larger than CIF, QVGA, and VGA, but smaller than 1 megapixel.

Mega pixel

This term refers to the size of an image, usually in reference to a photo from a digital camera or camera phone. Megapixel means one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and camera phones is often measured in megapixels. For example, a two-megapixel camera can produce images with two million pixels. Since pixels are usually square and form a grid, a 1-megapixel camera will produce an image roughly 1200 pixels wide by 900 pixels high. By comparison, a VGA image (640 x 480 pixels) would be only 0.3 megapixel.Megapixel images (1 megapixel or greater) are much larger than a phone display, so a megapixel camera will not make much difference compared to a sub-megapixel camera for phone-only applications such as MMS.Rather, megapixel cameras are useful for taking photos suitable for viewing on a PC and/or printing. Sub-megapixel cameras produce smaller images that only print well at very small sizes.Megapixel photos are larger in file size than sub-megapixel images, and so can take much longer, and cost more, to send wirelessly. Most cameras and camera phones have an option to take photos at lower resolution (smaller), if desired. This is useful for taking photos that will only be sent via MMS and not transferred to a PC or printed.


Some phones include a dedicated small, bright white LED that functions as a flashlight.In some camera phones with this feature, the LED light also does double-duty as a camera flash. However, not all camera phones with a flash allow flashlight (non-camera-related) use, and not all camera phones with a flashlight include camera flash capability.If this "flashlight" feature is indicated for a phone on this site, that means the LED flashlight can be used independently of the camera functions.


Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology used to create PANs (Personal Area Networks) among your devices, and with other nearby devices. Bluetooth allows you to leave your phone in your pocket, while talking on your phone with a Bluetooth headset - with no wires. You can also exchange contact or scheduling information with other Bluetooth-enabled phones nearby, or send such information to a nearby Bluetooth-enabled printer.

Another common use is to give your laptop computer or PDA wireless high-speed Internet access via Bluetooth and your phone.Many newer automobiles also have Bluetooth, which can interface with a phone in a pocket, to allow automatic hands-free phone capability.

More innovative uses include playing a game against someone with a similar phone nearby, or using a special Bluetooth pen to send SMS messages by simply writing them on paper.Bluetooth functionality is divided into separate types of connections known as "profiles". Each of the various scenarios outlined above involve a different profile. Not all Bluetooth devices support all profiles.

For example, most phones support the Headset (HSP) and Handsfree (HFP) profiles, for connecting the phones to headsets and car kits, respectively. But not all phones support the Object Exchange (OBEX) profiles, which let you transfer files (like photos) (FTP) and/or information (like contacts and events) (OPP) to and from other devices. Another profile supported by only some phones is Dial-Up Networking (DUN), which lets you connect a laptop or PDA to the Internet via the phone. Other optional profiles support connecting to printers (BPP), keyboards (HID), and stereo headphones (A2DP, AVRC). Most Bluetooth phones are "class 2", which means the Bluetooth feature has a range of up to 30 feet. Class 1 phones (which are rare) can have a range of up to 300 feet.

Bluetooth is named for the 10th century Viking King Harald Bluetooth, a Danish king who conquered Norway.


Enhanced Data for Global Evolution. An upgrade for GSM/GPRS networks that triples data rates (speed) over standard GPRS. EDGE is used automatically when both the phone and network support it. EDGE phones will automatically revert to the slower GPRS standard when EDGE service is not available. Although many EDGE phones and devices are theoretically capable of up to 236 Kbps, most EDGE networks are only configured to allow up to 135 Kbps, to conserve spectrum resources. Real-world data rates are usually lower than the maximum. Because it is based on existing GSM technology, EDGE is a smooth upgrade for GSM network operators. It also works within existing spectrum, making it ideal for countries without dedicated 3G spectrum, such as the US. Although EDGE works at a low level within the GSM standard that includes voice, the main benefit is to increase GPRS data rates. GPRS operating over EDGE is called EGPRS.

HSCSD (High-Speed Circuit Switched Data)

A high-speed data technology for GSM networks. An alternative to GPRS.Adopted mostly in Europe. No GSM networks in North America support HSCSD.HSCSD is a high-speed version of CSD, the standard method of data connections before packet-based technologies such as GPRS. A CSD connection is considered a data "call". A CSD data call is very similar to a voice call, except with the voice codecs disabled. A CSD call therefore occupies the came bandwidth as a voice call.Unlike packet-based technologies, a CSD or HSCSD data call uses the same amount of bandwidth at all times, regardless of whether data is being transmitted at any given moment.HSCSD achieves higher speeds than CSD by aggregating several simultaneous CSD data connections.

IrDA (Infrared Data Association)

A standard for transmitting data via infrared (non-visible) light waves. IrDA ports support roughly the same transmission rates as traditional parallel ports. Infrared can be used to wirelessly connect the phone to various devices, for various purposes. It can connect the phone to a computer, so that the computer can use the phone to make a data connection (to the Internet, or for syncing, for example.) It can also be used to exchange information such as phone book entries with other phones. Finally, some phones can also use it to send information such as phone book entries and calendar events to Infrared-equipped printers. Infrared is a line-of-sight wireless technology that uses a beam of invisible light to transmit information. This means that the infrared ports of both devices must be nearby and aimed at each other for a connection to succeed.Very few desktop computers come with infrared. It was once common in laptop computers, but is increasingly rare. Most computers will require a USB infrared adapter to communicate with a phone via infrared.Infrared is the same technology used in most A/V remote controls. Some smartphones are capable of controlling home A/V devices via infrared, although third-party software is usually required. Infrared technology in phones has mostly been replaced by Bluetooth, which has a longer range and does not require line-of-sight since it uses radio waves instead of light.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service.)

A packet-switched technology that enables data communications.GPRS is used for various data applications on phones, including wireless Internet (WAP), MMS, and software that connects to the Internet. Basically, any network connection that is not voice or text messaging uses a data connection like GPRS. GPRS offers a tenfold increase in data speed over previous (circuit-switched) technologies, up to 115kbit/s (in theory). Typical real-world speeds are around 30-40 Kbps. Newer technologies like EDGE and 3G are much faster. Using a packet switching, subscribers are always connected and always on-line, so services will be easy and quick to access. GPRS is considered a "2.5G" technology, meaning it is more advanced than standard 2G digital technology, but does not meet the requirements of a full-fledged 3G technology.

3G (3rd-generation)

Analog cellular phones were the first generation. Digital phones marked the second generation (2G). 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. (WCDMA and UMTS are often used interchangeably.) UMTS is the 3G technology of choice for most GSM carriers. The other major standard is cdma2000, which is an evolution of CDMA 2G technology. There are several types of cdma2000, each offering different data rates and levels of compatibility with 2G CDMA.


USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a type of plug-in connection that is used to connect devices, including some phones, to desktop or laptop computers. In a phone, USB is useful for quickly transferring files to and from phones, or for synchronizing address book and calendar information with a computer application such as Outlook. The phone is typically recognized by the computer as an accessory, with the proper driver installed on the computer. However, some phones support USB-Host (also called USB-OTG), which allows USB accessories to be connected directly to the phone, with no computer involved.


Also known as "Wireless Internet", "Wireless Web", or "Mobile Web". This feature means that the phone contains mini-browser software that will let you navigate various services through the Internet, shown on the phone's display.Most older phones with this feature can only display "WAP" pages specifically designed for phones - they cannot display most full web sites.Many newer phones can also display full web sites, although how well the page fits on the display varies depending on the mini-browser software.Some traditional web sites do offer versions specifically designed for phones, however frequently only a fraction of the content or services are offered in the wireless version, such as features that are time- or location-sensitive. Several different standards exists: HDML,WML, cHTML, and xHTML. Older phones support HDML and WML. Most new phones support WML and xHTML. Some phones also work with cHTML, the standard behind NTT DoCoMo's i-Mode service, which is found in Japan and parts of Europe.xHTML, which is related to WAP 2.0, is the standard that the industry is converging on.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

The wireless version of a LAN (local-area network). WLAN technology provides short-range, high-speed wireless data connections between mobile data devices (such as laptops, PDAs, and phones) and nearby Wi-Fi access points (special hardware connected to a wired network). WLAN technology is generally faster than 3G mobile technologies, but with much shorter range. 3G is therefore in a category known as WWAN (Wireless Wide-Area Network). Wi-Fi, or 802.11, is the most common WLAN technology.

TFT (thin film transistor)

It is a type of LCD (liquid crystal display) flat-panel display technology. Compared to other types of LCD technology, TFT features excellent image quality and response time, but uses more power, and is more expensive. TFT technology is an active-matrix technology, meaning that a tiny circuit (a transistor) is located next to each pixel, allowing the pixel to be turned on and off individually. This permits faster response time and greater contrast compared to passive-matrix technology.

Memory Card Slot

Memory card slots are used primarily to add memory to a phone, in the form of a memory card. Extra memory can be used to store and transfer photos, videos, music, computer files, or backups of phone data such as the phone book and calendar.Some card slots also support cards with other functions, such as Wi-Fi connectivity or an NFC reader. In this way the card slot can be used to add features to a device. The most common standard for this capability is SDIO, which we list as a separate feature.There are several different types of cards. Each has a different shape and size, but cards from a phone can also be used with other devices which use the same type of card. Such devices might include handhelds, digital cameras, and MP3 music players.

Shared Memory (Dynamic Memory)

This refers to the structure of the phone memory for storing information. Shared (dynamic) memory means that there is one large "pool" of memory available for multiple types of information. The different types of info can include photos, videos, music, voice recordings, software applications (Java, BREW, etc.), wallpapers, and ringtones. It may also include contacts, calendar entries, and to-do items.So with shared memory, if you have a large number of music files or ringtones on your phone, that will reduce the amount of memory available for software, photos, and videos, or vice-versa. The alternative is partitioned memory, where the memory is divided into fixed areas for each type of information. The disadvantage of partitioned memory is that if you fill up the photo memory, for example, you can't take any more photos until you delete some, even though there may be plenty of (wasted) memory available for other types of info. Some phones have a sort of hybrid memory, where some types of info share memory, such as ringtones, wallpaper, and software, while memory for photos and contacts are partitioned, for example.

Mini SD

A type of removable flash memory card.Like any flash memory card, it can be used to store various types of files, including photos, videos, music, or software.As the name implies, miniSD is similar to the SD format, but smaller.miniSD is smaller than MMC and SD, but larger than TransFlash, which is also called microSD. miniSD is close in size to the competing RS-MMC format.

Polyphonic Ringtones

Polyphonic ringtones can create multiple tones and/or notes simultaneously. This produces a more natural and realistic sound for melodies. Most polyphonic ringers can also simulate the sound of various instruments, instead of just tones. Different phones support a different number of simultaneous instruments (chords) - anywhere from 4 to 40 or more.

Custom Ringtones

This means that the phone has selectable ringtones that can be set to a custom melody (or "ringer") that you can change to something other than the ringtones included with the phone. Some phones include a built-in "composer" that let you enter the notes manually and create your own ringtone right on the phone.Others require that the ringtone be created elsewhere and downloaded to your phone via special SMS, EMS, or MMS messages, or via Wireless Internet. Ringtones can also sometimes be transferred in the form of a file from another device, such as a phone, PDA, or PC, via a cable, infrared, or Bluetooth.

Talk Time

The length of time a wireless device may be engaged in transmission (phone conversations, sending or receiving data) before it runs out of battery power. Talk time, expressed in hours and minutes, is much shorter than standby time because transmission requires more power.

Standby Time

The maximum length of time a wireless phone or communicator is fully charged, turned on and ready to send and receive calls or data transmissions. Standby time is reduced by the amount of time the phone is used for talking because talking on a phone draws more energy from a battery than standby mode.


In wireless phones, built-in software that allows the user to access special Internet sites using their phone. While nearly all browsers in phones can view sites made especially for phones, only some can also display "full" web sites.


Many phones include simple games for the user to pass the time when waiting, travelling, etc. The games referred to here are ones built into the phone, that do not require a connection and airtime to play. (There are games available over the Wireless Internet that do require a connection and thus airtime.)Many phones also include the ability to download new games wirelessly. There are several different technologies for downloadable games, including Java, BREW, Mophun, and WGE. The technologies are incompatible, although some phones support more than one technology.


SMS (Short Message Service)

Short Message Service is a feature available with some wireless phones that allow users to send and/or receive short text messages. Nearly all digital phones can receive SMS messages. Most phones can also send them. The network must also support sending of text messages. Basic SMS messages are addressed to a mobile phone number. Most U.S. carriers now allow sending to mobile phone numbers of other carriers. Most phones and carriers also support sending SMS from a phone directly to an email address. Newer variants of SMS include Long (Concatenated) SMS, and EMS.


MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a descendant of SMS (Short Messaging Service). MMS extends text messaging to include longer text, graphics, photos, audio clips, video clips, or any combination of the above, within certain size limits. MMS is frequently used to send photos and videos from camera phones to other MMS phones or email accounts. Most camera phones have MMS, but many non-camera phones have it as well. Many newer MMS phones also support SMIL, which allows various parts of an MMS message to be arranged into a small multimedia "slideshow" to be viewed on another SMIL-capable MMS phone.

Instant Messaging (IM)

A catergory of Internet-based "chat" technologies that typically enable rapid text communication between two people. A key feature of IM is the ability to have a "buddy list" of friends or peers, and see at a glance which friends are available for chat. This capability is known as "presence". IM conversations can occur PC-to-PC, phone-to-phone, or PC-to-phone. Several separate IM networks exist on the Internet, including Yahoo!, ICQ, AOL, and MSN. The IM interface on a phone can be implemented as a proprietary client that connects to one or more specific IM network(s). There is also a phone-industry standard for IM created by the OMA standards group called Wireless Village. Phones with Wireless Village can connect with a standard Wireless Village server on the carrier's network, which can, in turn, connect with one or more IM networks. This emilinates the need for software on the phone tied to specific IM networks. IM clients can also be implemented as BREW or Java applications, either built-in or downloadable. Some carriers also allow basic IM to be accessed via WAP or SMS, although this method has limitations in both speed and functionality.

OS (Operating System)

The "core" software that controls the basic operation of an electronic device. Examples include Windows and Mac OS for PCs, and Palm OS and Symbian for mobile devices.More advanced OS platforms for mobile devices, such as Symbian (including Series 60 and UIQ), Windows Mobile, and Palm OS, allow full software applications to run on top of the OS, such as games, organizer applications, and communication applications. Standardized OS platforms also provide a consistent user interface (UI) across devices from different hardware manufacturers.


Symbian is a venture formed by Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, and Psion to create easy to use operating systems for wireless devices and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Their first operating system is called EPOC.


The phone includes a mechanical device that can make the phone vibrate when it would otherwise ring or make a sound, such as an incoming call or an alarm. This is often useful for situations where an audible phone ringer would be inappropriate, such as in public or in office environments. The feature can be enabled or disabled through the phone's settings. Some phones permit both a sound and vibration at the same time, some do not. Some phones vibrate more vigorously than others. In particular, since a motorized weight usually produces the vibrations, lighter-weight phones may have weaker vibrating mechanisms.

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