Mobile Phones Glossary

Our glossary of terms is a specially chosen list of words, acronyms and abbreviations that all relate in some way to mobile telecommunications.


0-9

 
1G
1G (First Generation) is the name given to the first generation of mobile telephone networks. These systems used analogue circuit-switched technology, with FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access), and worked mainly in the 800-900 MHz frequency bands. The networks had a low traffic capacity, unreliable handover, poor voice quality, and poor security.

2G
2G (Second Generation) is the generic term used to refer to the second generation of wireless mobile telephone networks, which were the first to feature purely digital technology. As demands for the quality and quantity of mobile communication services increased, 2G systems were the logical next stage in the evolution from the 1G (first generation) analogue systems.

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.

3-Way Calling
Allows you to have three-way conversations between you and two outside parties, or one outside party and a second in-house handset.

3G
3G (Third Generation) is a generic term used to refer to the latest standard of wireless mobile telephone networks. Third Generation phones are capable of the high data rates, wide bandwidth and increased capacity needed to support the new range of digital services available for mobile devices, such as Internet access, multimedia applications, and support for global roaming.

The major multiple access transmission technique used in 3G is CDMA, a packet-switching technology, which provides a more efficient use of the available spectrum than did the earlier methods of FDMA and TDMA. The two main 3G technologies used are UMTS with wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) in Europe, and cdma2000™ with multi-carrier CDMA (MC-CDMA) in the USA. Many 3G systems will operate in the 2 GHz frequency band, and are designed to provide a range of data rates from 144 kbps to 2 Mbps, depending on the user's location and circumstances.

A

 
A-GPS
Some mobile phones that have a GPS chip built in also support A-GPS. A-GPS is simply Assisted GPS and it means the handset will use a triangulation technique to help get a fast fix on your current location. Triangulation means the handset will judge your location to within 100 metres by judging your distance from three mobile phone aerials in your area. The distance from each aerial is calculated and your location recorded. Sometimes a GPS fix can take up to 30 seconds to work, using A-GPS means a faster fix and a better end user experience.

AAC
AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding. It is a music format proposed as a successor to MP3, offering a higher sound quality but taking up the same amount of memory. Ordinarily a higher quality would mean more memory needs to be used.

Adjustable Ringer
Allows you to set the ringer from Loud to Soft and in some models, Off.

Adjustable Volume
Loudness of incoming voice, either through the handset or over the speakerphone, can be adjusted for the best listening level. This feature is helpful in a noisy environment.

Analog
Short for analogous or "similar to". Refers to telephone transmission and/or switching which is not digital. Analog transmission of sound or information uses "waves" of electricity, converting sound waves to electrical waves. The traditional method of modulating radio signals so that they can carry information. AM and FM are the two most common methods of analog modulation. A signaling method that uses continuous changes in the amplitude or frequency of a radio transmission to convey information.

Auto Focus
Auto focus refers to a camera phone lens being able to adjust to focus in on a particular object, often resulting in clearer and sharper pictures than fixed focus camera phones.

Auto Redial
Automatically redials busy or unanswered numbers with just the touch of a button. Automatically keeps redialing busy numbers for up to 10 attempts every 40 seconds.

B

 
Backlit Display
LCD is illuminated for easy reading under all lighting conditions. Can show information such as call waiting/caller ID name and number, time/date/sequence number of calls, plus number of recorded messages.

Band
Band (Frequency Band) is a term used in telecommunications to refer to a range of frequencies authorised for specific purposes. Each band will be a continuous spectrum of frequencies, with upper and lower limits, and international use of these bands is regulated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to prevent interference.

Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the volume of data that can be transmitted over a communication line in a fixed amount of time. It is expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second for digital devices and in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz) for analog devices. Bandwidth can also be defined as the difference between a band of frequencies or wavelengths.

Bluetooth
Bluetooth technology allows connections between electrical devices without the need for wires. The benefit includes car kits and headsets that can be connected to a mobile phone without the need for wires. Bluetooth is a short range technology, usually working up to a distance of 10 metres.

Bps
Bits per second indicate the speed of data transfer a phone can operate at.

Broadband
It is a term used to define high speed Internet connection, generally provided by cable TV, DSL or dedicated telecom lines. The high speeds are achieved by the carrying capacity of the cable that can carry multiple messages simultaneously.

C

 
Cellular
Term used to describe mobile phone communications. Each transmitter covers an area known as a "cell".

Circuit-Switching
Means of creating a connection by setting up a dedicated end-to-end circuit, which remains open for the duration of the communication.

Compression
This is a term that is used to indicate the squeezing of data in a format that takes less space to store or less bandwidth to transmit. It is very useful in handling large graphics, audio and video files.

Content Provider
A company that provides services to mobile phone users or network operators. These services could be shopping, web surfing, chat rooms, playing games, accessing data such as music and books through a server.

Coverage
A specific area in which a mobile phone can make and receive calls.

CPU
Central Processor Unit. Controls system functions. Also, referred to as the Central Processor Board (CPB), Enhanced Processor Board (EPB) or ECPU. (The brains of a system).

Crystal
Code-name for a half VGA reference design for Symbian OS.

D

 
Data Port
Similar to Convenience Jack, a phone can have a data port which allows you to connect another phone related device such as a fax or modem.

DCS 1800
Digital Communications System: another name for GSM working on a radio frequency of 1800 MHz. Also known as GSM1800 or PCN, this digital network operates in Europe and Asia Pacific.

DID
Direct Inward Dial. Dialing a number to reach a specific person or department. That call would only ring at the specified phone.

Digital
Describes any system based on discontinuous data or events. Computers are digital machines because at their most basic level they can distinguish between just two values, 0 and 1, or off and on. There is no simple way to represent all the values in between, such as 0.25. All data that a computer processes must be encoded digitally, as a series of zeroes and ones. The opposite of digital is analog. A typical analog device is a clock in which the hands move continuously around the face. Such a clock is capable of indicating every possible time of day. In contrast, a digital clock is capable of representing only a finite number of times (every tenth of a second, for example). In general, humans experience the world analogically. Vision, for example, is an analog experience because we perceive infinitely smooth gradations of shapes and colors. Most analog events, however, can be simulated digitally. Digital cordless phone models offer greater clarity and privacy than analog phones.

Digital Zoom
Digital zoom refers to a digital camera phone that will enhance part of a picture, to give the impression that you have 'zoomed in' on the object. What actually happens is a part of the picture is cropped and then enhanced to full size. This does lead to a loss in picture quality.

Dual Band
Ability of a phone to work on both 900MHz and 1800MHz networks. Historically in the UK, Orange and T-Mobile used the 1800MHz frequency while O2 and Vodafone both used 900MHz but as radio airwaves became more congested all networks started using both frequencies and all new mobile phones are now at least dual-band.

Dual Keypads
A keypad on the base as well as the cordless handset.

Duplex
Full-Duplex refers to simultaneous two-way transmission, such as experienced in a phone conversation. Both ends of the connection can hear each other at the same time.

Half-Duplex, in contrast, will transmit in only one direction - from the loudest noise - at a time. When one person is speaking, the other cannot be heard.

E

 
ECML
ECML stands for Electronic Commerce Modeling Language. ECML is an open Internet standard for digital wallets and online merchants to facilitate automatic exchange of transaction information. It allows fast and secure online payment via a "digital wallet" in the phone.

EDGE
EDGE is enhanced speed for data transfer across a GSM network. It can be seen as an alternative to 3G, and can be used to offer faster transfer rates by networks in areas where they do not have 3G coverage.

EGPRS
GPRS operating over EDGE.

External Display
Many clamshell phones have secondary external displays on the outside, so that the user can see who is calling before answering in incoming call.

The display therefore shows Caller-ID information during an incoming call. Most phones display the time and/or status at other times.

Newer phones have 2nd displays that are color, which allows associated photos to be shown for incoming callers, a feature known as Picture ID or Photo Caller ID.

In many camera phones with full-color 2nd displays, the 2nd display can be used as a viewfinder, to frame self-portraits.

F

 
Face Recognition
Face recognition technology in a digital camera will seek out and focus in on people's faces, so that images are produced which are much clearer and sharper in focus and detail.

Flash Feature
Allows easy access to Call Conferencing, Call Waiting and other special subscriber services available from local telephone companies.

Frequency
A measurement of the number of electromagnetic waves that pass a given point in a given time period. It is equal to the speed of light divided by wavelengths, and is epressed in Hertz (cycles per second).

Frequency Hopping
While talking, your phone signal changes channels up to 90 times a second. This provides security to cordless telephone conversations.

G

 
GB
GB is a measurement of memory storage, an acronym for Gigabyte. One Gigabyte is equivalent to 1024 MB (Megabyte).

GPRS
GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service and was the first high speed data service available on digital mobile phones.

GPS
Global Positioning System, GPS is used to calculate your location by taking a reading from up to 3 satellites, and calculating your location using a method called triangulation.

GSM
The Global Standard for Mobile communications is a digital standard used by mobile networks across the globe. The most common frequency used is 900mhz, followed by 1800mhz. In the Americas, 1900mhz and 850mhz are also used. These bandings are what is referred to by single, dual, tri or quad band phones. A quad band phone will operate on any of the GSM frequencies, offering a larger range of roaming options.

GSM Gateway
A mobile phone device thats takes a single SIM card or multiple SIMS and provides a telecoms interface - either Analogue (FXO/FXS) to allow connection to Analogue trunk of a Telephone System (or to allow a standard telephone to connect directly), ISDN Interfaces such as ISDN2e and ISDN30 for connection to ISDN telephone systems and VOIP interfaces to allow the gateway to connect to a Voice Over IP network. The GSM Gateway enables these traditional telephony devices to connect directly to the mobile phone network, usually providing the user with access to cheaper call rates.

H

 
Hands-free
The ability to make and/or receive a phone call without physically holding the mobile phone. Originally this referred to hands-free car kits allowing drivers to use the phone while driving by using a microphone that picked up the driver's voice and a loudspeaker that played back the caller's voice.

This progressed to a wired personal hands-free which changed the loudspeaker into earphones and not long after back to a loudspeaker but this time built into the phone allowing its use as a hands-free conference call device. Eventually wirefree Bluetooth headsets arrived and almost all hands-free devices are now Bluetooth.

Handset Locator
You can locate the handset or page the handset user with beep tones from the base unit.

Hookswitch
Mechanical or electrical switch used to terminate a call. The handset usually depresses the hookswitch when it is returned to the cradle.

HSCSD
High Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD) is a way of getting faster internet access through older 2G mobile phone networks. Used only by Orange in the UK and largely obsolete since the launch of 3G networks and HSDPA.

HSDPA
High Speed Download Packet Access (HSDPA) is more commonly called mobile broadband. It offers exactly what it is called, a high speed method of downloading data across a 3G mobile phone network.

HSUPA
High Speed Upload Packet Access (HSUPA) is a complementary service to HSDPA. HSUPA enhances HSDPA by offering mobile broadband quality upload speeds in addition to the usual faster download speeds.

Hunt Group
A group of telephone channels configured so that if the first is busy (engaged) the call goes to the next channel, if that channel is busy it goes to the next channel, etc. Hunt groups may hunt from the highest to the lowest, the lowest to the highest, or on some other arbitrary pattern. But the order of hunting will usually be fixed, beginning with one channel and working through ("hunting") until an unused channel is found. This arrangement is very common in business scenarios where a single incoming number (the Listed Directory Number) is given to the public, but multiple incoming channels are supported.

Hybrid
A Hybrid key system can use single line telephones (SLT) in addition to electronic proprietary system telephones.

I

 
i-Mode
Proprietary packet-based information service for mobile phones. i-Mode delivers information (such as mobile banking, and train timetable) to mobile phones and enables exchange of email from handsets on the PDC-P network. Launched in 1999 by NTT DoCoMo, i-Mode is very popular in Japan (especially for email and transfer of icons), but is not currently being used elsewhere.

IM
IM is an acronym for Instant Messaging. Many new handsets support instant messaging of some kind or another, with top of the range handset supporting access to services such as Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger.

Image Stabiliser
Image stabiliser is used on a camera pone to cut out blur on a picture due to hand shaking.

IMAP
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP is a method of sending and receiving email. With IMAP the message is held online by your internet server, and you download just the header and sender information. From this you can choose whether to download the full email or leave it on the server to be accessed from a PC at a later time.

IMEI
An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique serial number that every mobile phone has and is usually found printed under the phone battery; if a mobile is stolen, networks can use the IMEI number to identify the phone and put a block on it which make the stolen phone useless on all networks.

Internal Memory
Internal memory will indicate the capacity available for storing photos, messages and songs on the phone memory.

IrDA
The Infrared Data Association (IrDA) defines physical specifications communications protocol standards for the short-range exchange of data over infrared light, for uses such as personal area networks (PANs).
  • A suite of protocols for infrared (IR) exchange of data between two devices, up to 1 or 2 meters apart (20 to 30 cm for low-power devices). IrDA devices typically have throughput of up to either 115.2 Kbps or 4 Mbps. IrDA protocols are implemented in Symbian OS phones, many PDAs, printers and laptop computers.

  • The Infrared Data Association, the industry body that specifies IrDA protocols, originally founded by Hewlett-Packard and others.

J

 
J2ME
Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME): The edition of the Java platform that is targeted at small, standalone or connectable consumer and embedded devices. The J2ME technology consists of a virtual machine and a set of APIs suitable for tailored runtime environments for these devices. The J2ME technology has two primary kinds of components – configurations and profiles.

Java
Industry standard object-oriented language and virtual machine, invented by Sun Microsystems and formally released in 1996. Java is an ideal language for network applications and applets. Sun's Java specifications include many Java APIs and platforms, including the JavaPhone API and PersonalJava platform, which are included in Symbian OS.

Jitter
It is a term used to indicate a momentary fluctuation in the transmission signal. This happens in computing when a data packet arrives either ahead or behind a standard clock cycle. In telecommunication, it may result from an abrupt variation in signal characteristics, such as the interval between successive pulses.

K

 
Kbps
Kbps stands for kilobytes per second and is a method used for indicating the speed data is transferred by a mobile phone across the phone network.

Kernel
Core of an operating system, a kernel manages the machine's hardware resources (including the processor and the memory), and provides and controls the way any other software component can access these resources. The kernel runs with a higher privilege than other programs (so-called user-mode programs). The power and robustness of an OS's kernel play a major role in shaping overall system design and reliability.

L

 
Lag
Lag is the term used to indicate the extra time taken by a packet of data to travel from the source computer to the destination computer and back again. The lag may be caused by poor networking or by inefficient or excessive processing.

LCD
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, technology that can be found used for mobile phone screens.

LED
An LED is a Light Emitting Diode, a small light found on many camera phones, used to illuminate objects in dim lighting conditions to enhance the quality of the captured image. LED's are common on mobile phones, but not as powerful as the less used Xenon Flash. The main reason LED's are preferred to Xenon Flashes is due to the lower power consumption needed by the LED.

Lithium Ion
Lithium-ion is used in the construction of many mobile phone batteries.

M

 
MB
MB is an acronym for Megabyte. A megabyte is a measurement of memory storage. A typical MP3 music track uses approximately 5MB of storage while a 3 minute video uses around 35MB of storage.

Memory Expansion Slot
A memory expansion slot on a phone allows you to increase the memory capacity on your phone by the addition of a memory card. Common card formats used on a phone include Micro SD and M2.

MExE
Mobile Station Application Execution Environment (GSM 02.57): a framework to ensure a predictable environment for third-party applications in GSM or UMTS handsets (ie the Mobile Station). MExE does this by defining different technology requirements called "classmarks". MExE classmark 1 is based on WAP, classmark 2 on PersonalJava and JavaPhone, and classmark 3 on J2ME CLDC and MIDP. Other classmarks may be defined in the future.

MExE specifies additional requirements for all classmarks, for instance a security environment, capability and content negotiation, a user profile, user interface personalization, management of services and virtual home environment. A handset can support any number of classmarks.

Mobile Broadband
Mobile Broadband is a common term used to indicate high speed data access on a mobile phone. Normally the use of mobile broadband indicates the presence of HSDPA on a phone or USB modem.

MP3
MP3 is a shorter way of saying MPEG Layer-3. MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Expert Group, and refers to the experts who defined MPEG audio technology. MP3 allows digital audio files to be highly compressed whilst retaining an acceptable level of audio quality.

N

 
Network operator
Company with a license to provide wireless telephony services.

NMT
Nordic Mobile Telephone. One of the earliest 1G cellular network developed jointly in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Originally operated in the 450 MHz band. Later the 900 MHz was used as well.

O

 
OBEX
Object Exchange: a set of high-level protocols allowing objects such as vCard contact information and vCalendar schedule entries to be exchanged using either IrDA (IrOBEX) or Bluetooth. Symbian OS implements IrOBEX for exchange of vCards, for example between a Nokia 9210 Communicator and an Ericsson R380 Smartphone, and vCalendar.

OPL
A BASIC-like programming language, for rapid application development, used on Symbian OS.

OS
"Operating System" - the basic software that runs on your phone or computer. Symbian, OSX, Windows Mobile and Vista are all examples of an OS.

P

 
Packet-switching
Technique whereby the information (voice or data) to be sent is broken up into packets, of at most a few KB each, which are then routed by the network between different destinations based on addressing data within each packet. Use of network resources is optimized, as the resources are needed only during the handling of each packet. This is an ideal model for ad hoc data communication, and works well also for voice, video and other streamed data. Mobile phones with packet-switched communication appear to be "always connected" to the data network, whereas in the case of circuit-switched connections, setup time takes around 30 seconds to connect from a mobile phone to an ISP. Use of packet-switched network can be charged according to the volume of data transferred and not to any notion of time spent online.

PCN
Personal Communications Network: another name for GSM 1800 (it is also known as DCS 1800). It is used in Europe and Asia Pacific.

PCS
Personal Communications Service: an American generic term for a mass-market mobile phone service, emphasizing personal communication, independent of the technology used to provide it. PCS includes such digital cellular technologies as GSM 1900, CDMA and TDMA IS-136.

PDC
Personal Digital Cellular: the 2G TDMA-based protocols used in Japan, owned by NTT DoCoMo. PDC services operate in the 800 MHz and 1500 MHz bands.

PersonalJava
A Java platform optimized for the requirements and constraints of mobile devices.

Platform
A set of technology, which acts as a foundation for real-world applications, or higher-level platforms. Symbian OS includes C++ APIs, a leading Java implementation, an application suite and integration with wireless and other communications protocols.

Polyphonic Ringtones
Todays poly ringtones are almost as good as the original records, the quality gets better all the time due to continuous improvement in mobile phone audio technology. Most modern mobile phones with play 16 track tunes. Whilst the early mobile phones that would only play monophonic sounds are still around it is only a matter of time before all mobile phone manufacturers produce handsets that play polyphonic tones. Polytones sound good and most hits are available to be transmitted in stereo to give up to 40 different notes playing at a time.

POP3
POP3 is an abbreviation of Post Office Protocol and refers to a data format used for sending emails across the internet.

Pre-Pay
Mobile phone service with no credit check, no contract and no monthly bills - all calls must be paid for in advance, as opposed to contract phones.

PUK
PUK stands for Pin Unblocking Key and is the security code used by networks to protect their customers sim card if the wrong pin is entered three times. If your mobile phone requests a PUK code then you need to contact your operator (Orange or O2 etc.) and answer some security questions to unlock your phone. Repeatedly entering the wrong PUK will permanently lock your sim card requiring it to be returned to the network for reactivation.

Q

 
Quad Band
Quad band means four bands, and refers to handsets that operate on all four of the GSM transmitting frequencies.

Quartz
Code-name for a tablet-like, quarter-VGA portrait screen size, pen-based, reference design.

QVGA
QVGA is the common resolution for mobile phone displays, and refers to a resolution size of 320 x 240 pixels. A VGA display is 640 x 480 pixels, and QVGA is a quarter of the resolution, Quarter VGA. Confusion can set in as 320 x 240 is half the number of 640 x 480, the actual pixel count is gained by multiplying these numbers. Therefore a QVGA display is 76,800 pixels, as opposed to a VGA display which is 307,200 pixels.

QWERTY
QWERTY refers to the first 6 letters on the top row of a standard keyboard. In mobile phone specification a QWERTY keyboard indicates the handset comes with a full keyboard on the handset, as opposed to the standard 12 key alphanumeric keypad.

R

 
Reference design
User interface designs for Symbian OS delivered to Symbian licensees.

Roaming
The ability to use a mobile phone abroad.

S

 
S40
S40 refers to the Series 40 software used in certain Nokia handsets.

S60
S60 refers to the Series 60 operating system used in Nokia smartphones.

SAR (Specific absorption rate)
Each GSM handset has a radio transmitter and receiver in order to operate in the wireless GSM network. That transceiver is manufactured so that when used next to the ear and when worn on the belt, it won't exceed the limits for exposure to radio frequency energy set by the authorities.

The authorities in question here are the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the U.S. Government, Industry Canada of the Canadian Government (IC), and the Council of the European Union.

These limits are part of comprehensive guidelines that establish permitted levels of RF energy for the general population. The guidelines are based on standards that have been developed by independent scientific organizations through periodic and thorough evaluation of scientific studies.
  • The exposure standard for wireless devices employs a unit of measurement known as the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR. Unfortunately the limits set by the FCC/IC and the Concil of the European Union are measured over different amount of tissue so they are not directly comparable.
  • The SAR limit set by the FCC/IC is 1.6W/kg averaged over 1 gram of actual tissue.
  • The SAR limit recommended by the Council of the European Union is 2.0W/kg averaged over 10 g of actual tissue.
Although the SAR is determined at the highest certified power level, the actual SAR level of the device while operating can be well below the maximum value. This is because GSM phones are designed to operate at multiple power levels so as to use only the power required to reach the network. In general, the closer you are to a wireless base station antenna, the lower the power output of the device and vice versa.

Service provider
A company that provides mobile phone users with services and subscriptions to mobile phone networks.

SIM
Subscriber Identity Module. The SIM card is the smart card inserted inside all GSM phones. It identifies the user account to the network, handles authentication and provides data storage for basic user data and network information. It may also contain some applications that run on a compatible phone (SIM Application Toolkit).

Smartphone
A generic name for voice centric mobile phones with information capability. The Ericsson R380 Smartphone is an example of such a Symbian OS phone.

SMS
Short Message Service: available on digital GSM networks allowing text messages of up to 160 characters to be sent and received via the network operator's message center to your mobile phone, or from the Internet, using a so-called "SMS gateway" website. If the phone is powered off or out of range, messages are stored in the network and are delivered at the next opportunity.

SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A protocol for sending e-mail messages between servers and from client to server.

Symbian
Symbian is the name of the company that develops Nokia's S60 phone operating system and Sony Ericsson's UIQ phone operating system.

SyncML
Synchronization Markup Language, an industry-wide effort to create a single, common data synchronization protocol optimized for wireless networks. SyncML's goal is to have networked data that support synchronization with any mobile device, and mobile devices that support synchronization with any networked data. The SyncML structured data layer will use XML wherever appropriate. SyncML is intended to work on transport protocols as diverse as HTTP, WSP (part of WAP) and OBEX, and with data formats ranging from personal data (e.g. vCard & vCalendar) to relational data and XML documents. The SyncML consortium was set up by IBM, Nokia and Psion among others. Symbian is a sponsor of the SyncML consortium.

T

 
TACS
Total Access Communication System: a British 1G analog mobile telephone standard based on the US AMPS system. It was later adopted in other countries including Hong-Kong and Japan.

TDMA
Time Division Multiple Access. Allows a number of users to access a single radio frequency channel without interference by allocating unique time slots to each user within each channel. This enables multiple handsets to share the same frequency in the same area.

Telematics
Communications technology that combines wireless, voice and data to provide location-specific services.

Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is glass that is strengthened by reheating it to just below melting point and then suddenly cooling it. Tempered glass is approximately five times stronger than standard glass.

Touchscreen
A touchscreen allows input to be made onto a device simply by pressing on the screen. Often the UI on the device will offer large icons which all correspond to a particular feature. To open that application you simply touch the screen where the icon is displayed. Touchscreens can often offer on screen QWERTY keyboards as well as handwriting recognition, allowing you to enter commands and text on the phone by writing on the screen with a stylus.

TV OUT
Phones with TV OUT have a facility to show what you see on the screen of your phone on the screen of a TV, via a simple cable connection. Via TV OUT you can browse web sites, watch videos recorded or photos taken on the phone's camera.

U

 
UIQ
UIQ stands for User Interface Quartz, and is UI software platform that is based on the Symbian operating system.

UMA
Standing for Unlicensed Mobile Access, UMA is a technology that allows mobile users to access voice and data services over private networks and unlicensed spectrum when using dual band handsets. This system must be backed up by the network operator to allow a seamless transition from the mobile network to the private network.

UMTS
UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service and is almost the sole technology used universally for third generation mobile phone networks.

Unicode
A 16-bit character encoding scheme allowing characters from Western European, Eastern European, Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Urdu, Hindi and all other major world languages, living and dead, to be encoded in a single character set. The Unicode specification also includes standard compression schemes and a wide range of typesetting information required for worldwide locale support. Symbian OS fully implements Unicode.

USB Connector
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. Phones with a USB port will connect to a PC USB port via cable, allowing for a faster data transfer rate than proprietary phone ports. Most phones use either mini or micro USB ports.

USIM
Acronym for "Universal Subscriber Information Module" - the next generation of SIM card, having a larger capacity (generally 64Kb). Also referred to as "3G SIM" because 3G phones generally need a USIM rather than the older SIM cards. Visually USIMs are no different to SIMs.

V

 
vCalendar
Defines a transport- and platform-independent format for exchanging calendar and schedule information so that any vCalendar-compliant application can send or receive calendaring and scheduling information to or from any other vCalendar-compliant application. For instance, users with mobile phones running vCalendar-aware applications can schedule meetings automatically over an infrared link or via sending an SMS.

vCard
Standard defining the format of an electronic business card. All devices supporting vCard can exchange information such as phone numbers and addresses. For instance a user with a vCard-aware phonebook application on a handheld computer can easily transfer names and phone numbers to a vCard-aware mobile phone.

VGA
A VGA screen is a screen with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. This gives a total resolution of four times the standard mobile phone screen and is not currently popular amongst many manufacturers.

Voice recognition
Enables some mobile phone functions to be controlled with voice commands.

Voicemail
Voicemail gives you the ability to take messages from callers e.g. if you are unavailable or the phone is switched off. Voicemail is free to activate and free to leave messages on.

VPN
Virtual Private Network - methods of running private voice or data networks using parts of public networks for better security, throughput and tariffing.

W

 
WCDMA
Wide-band CDMA: a CDMA protocol originated by NTT DoCoMo and now adopted for third-generation use by ETSI in Europe. WCDMA supports very high-speed multimedia services such as full-motion video, Internet access and video conferencing.

Widget
We get the word Widget by combining Window and Gadget. A widget is a screen based control that is used to interact with a website or other systems. Widgets can be buttons, selection lists, sliders, etc. The Nokia Widset service connects to various websites to obtain updates via RSS, using a Widget interface.

WiFi
WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity, and is a term used to describe wireless standards for local network wireless connectivity.

Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile is a phone operating system, much in the same way that Symbian is. Commonly found on smartphones, Windows Mobile offers many of the features and a similar user experience as to that found on a desktop PC.

WLAN
Wireless Local Area Network, WLAN is a group of computers and electronic devices connected together using the WiFi standard.

X

 
Xenon Flash
A Xenon flash is a very bright light, commonly found on digital cameras and a small number of camera phones, which allows for higher quality pictures to be taken in dim lighting conditions, as the Xenon flash emits much more light than a standard LED light.
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