10 Confusing Smartphone Terms Explained Simply

Smartphone terms
Read our list of Smartphone terms everyone should know

Smartphone, a gadget we all use daily. It is one of the most prevalent pieces of technology across eras. While there was an age to learn computers, it is now a necessity to learn a few basic things about the gadget you use the most. You learn basics of computers in school whereas smartphone terms are something we learn from various sources.

Here is a list of 10 smartphone terms everyone should be aware of. With smartphones becoming our primary computing device, it is always better to be aware of our beloved possessions.

1. SoC

SoC is the main computing frame of your smartphone

I’m sure you have come across the term and apart from Snapdragon this and Mediatek that, you may not know much about it. SoC is a ‘System on a Chip’ based on an Integrated Circuit (IC) that houses all computing components on a single chip. A typical SoC houses the microprocessor, internal memory, RAM (explained below), audio chip, visual chip, radios, analogue interfaces like USB connectors and much more. This is the heart of your phone and the type of SoC will decide your smartphone’s performance.

However, hardware on its own is nothing without an optimised software. The best phones have a balanced combination of both hardware and software.

2. RAM and ROM

RAM is Random Access Memory and ROM is Read-Only Memory. In simple terms, RAM is the memory your phone stores for frequently used apps to provide a faster response when needed. ROM is the internal storage which houses the smartphone’s operating system. While a part of ROM is locked for system use, the rest of it is available to the user for installing apps and storing data.

3. CPU and GPU

Smartphones come in plethora of CPU and GPU choices

Your SoC has two major chips responsible for your phone’s functionality. The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, handles all the major complex calculations like multitasking and app functionality. GPU, or Graphic Processing Unit, handles all the animations, video playback and gaming on your smartphone. Better processors will result in faster overall operations.

4. Smartphone terms for network

The G in 2G, 3G, 4G and upcoming 5G stands for the Generation of networks. Each generation is an upgrade with added functionality, better coverage and improved data speeds. LTE is Long Term Evolution designed to work on 4G networks and beyond. It features better data speeds as compared to its predecessor, GSM or Global system for Mobiles. Both these standards were born in Europe and are accepted worldwide.

5. VoLTE

Thanks to Jio, everyone is asking what is VoLTE? It stands for Voice over Long Term Evolution. Apart from increased data speeds, LTE is also used to make and receive calls using the internet. Now you know how Jio provides free calling for life.

6. NFC

NFC is the future of device interactions

Near Field Communication or NFC allows devices to talk to each other and NFC tags. It’s a method of wireless data transfer between two devices which are in close proximity with each other. NFC evolved from Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tech and operates as one part of a wireless link.

If your phone supports NFC, order some tags and have fun automating your mundane tasks.

7. Megapixels and UltraPixels

Megapixel is a unit of graphic resolution to measure a million pixels, mostly in camera lenses. More pixels result in a larger image resolution. UltraPixels is more like a marketing term invented by HTC to denote that larger sized pixels on a smaller area will result in a sharper image. UltraPixel-based images are smaller in resolution.

The quality of the image, however, is decided by the size and quality of a camera lens.


RGB matrix as per AMOLED and IPS

AMOLED is active-matrix organic light-emitting diode and OLED is organic light-emitting diodes, while IPS is In-plane switching. All of these are terms for display technologies. While AMOLED and OLED are LED Display technologies, IPS is a screen technology for LCDs or Liquid Crystal Displays. Since AMOLEDs and OLEDs can control light from each diode, they are popular for their deep blacks, high contrast and punchy colours. IPS technology focuses on vibrancy and contrast.

9. Battery terms

Li-ion or lithium-ion is a type of rechargeable battery used in most gadgets. They are widely used for their high energy density, tiny memory effect (phenomena causing batteries to hold less charge) and low self-discharge. mAh or milliampere-hour is a number of milliamps of power that a battery can deliver for one hour. Use your devices wisely.

10. Ports – Micro-USB, USB Type-C, Lightning port, etc

Ports differ as per smartphones

Micro-USB is the standard port available on most smartphone and gadgets. It is based on USB 2.0, and in rare cases, USB 3.0. It is therefore bound to speeds averaging from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps. USB Type-C is an upgrade to all the USB ports featuring reversible use and faster data transfer up to 10 Gbps along with faster-charging capabilities. Lighting Port is an Apple patented port used by their products. Apple too seems to turn towards USB Type-C ports for its universal acceptance in coming ages.

The 3.5mm Headphone jack is one of the oldest analogue ports used in today’s phones. It is designed for audio output and input though not bound to this very functionality.

Now you know

Now that you know most of the common smartphone terms used on a daily basis, share this knowledge with others. Smartphones are one of the most used computing devices and are becoming a primary portable computer for most.

Know thy computer at least as much as it knows about you. Think about it.

Loves technology and follows it passionately. A curious soul trapped in a weird dimension.


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