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Jargon Buster : Mobile Phone Terminology


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#1 Karthik R

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 12:07 PM

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For the Noob mobile phone user or even those who have seen the jargon making the rounds but couldn't really understand what they meant, here is a quick guide to the most commonly used abbreviations and terminology used in the mobile phone segment Posted Image

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  • 3G – Third Generation mobile technology will allow users to get a better host of services and connectivity speeds from their service provider. That means download speeds on mobile devices will be faster as well as data and media streaming.
  • 3GPP - 3rd Generation Partnership Project can be construed to be a combination of all GSM, GPRS/EDGE and W-CDMA specifications.
  • A-GPS – Assisted Global Positioning System allows for a quicker mode of gathering required satellite information via the internet via servers. GPS enabled handsets can get information without the use of A-GPS however it would take a little longer. In order to use A-GPS you would of course require a working internet service on your mobile handset via your service provider.
Android – Developed by Google and part of the Open Handset Alliance now, Android is not just an operating system but a software platform as well. It's based on the Linux Kernel, which is quite synonymous with free or open source software. Developers will also be able to write codes for developing new applications for the OS with Java. The first Android powered handset was HTC's G1.


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Android has become extremely popular today, with devices powered by the OS providing stiff competition to Apple's devices. In case you're not familiar with them, here's a list of the codenames used for Android OS versions.

  • Donut - Version 1.6
  • Eclair - Version 2.0/2.1
  • FroYo - Shortened form of Frozen Yoghurt, Version 2.2
  • Gingerbread - Version 2.3
  • Ice Cream Sandwich - Supposedly Version 2.4
  • Honeycomb - Version 3.0, optimized for tablets.
ROMs


A stock ROM is the official, signed software version from a phone manufacturer that will either come on the device when you buy it or will come in the form of an update.

Custom ROMs, however, are either altered version of this software or modified versions of Google's stock Android software.
So what does the "customized" part mean? Since Android is open source, developers are free to take stock ROMs, modify them, strip them of garbage, optimize them, add things, and pretty much do whatever their imagination and skills allow.

Here are the steps for installing Custom ROMs, at a glance :
  • Root Your Phone
  • Install ROM Manager App
  • Back Up
  • Download the ROM you want to try
  • Flash It
  • Want to go back? Restore It
"Rooting" your device means obtaining "superuser" rights and permissions to your Android's software. With these elevated user privileges, you gain the ability to load custom software (ROM's), install custom themes, increase performance, increase battery life, and the ability to install software that would otherwise cost extra money (ex: WiFi tethering). Rooting is essentially "hacking" your Android device. In the iPhone world, this would be the equivalent to "Jailbreaking" your phone.
  • BREW - is Qualcomm's open source application development platform for wireless devices equipped for CDMA technology.
  • Bluetooth – A wireless method of communion between devices for either data transfer or remote access and control.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR – Bluetooth (BT) with Enhanced Data Rate offers faster rates of communication between Bluetooth enabled devices.
  • A2DP - Advanced Audio Distribution Profile allows Bluetooth enabled media devices to communicate with receivers in Stereo Bluetooth headsets for better audio experiences.
  • AVRCP - Audio/Video Remote Control Profile allows BT enabled devices to communicate and control and interface with other BT enabled devices not just for data transfer but in a more in-depth sense. For example one can control your PC's media player via Bluetooth from a mobile handset equipped with Bluetooth that also has an AVRCP profile.
  • BTS - Base Transceiver Station; the network entity which communicates with the mobile station.
  • CDMA - Code division multiple access is another form of mobile/cellular technology that allows users to use the entire spectrum of frequencies available that are capable of providing better sound and data communication. Some CDMA handsets have built in SIM cards, so specific handset models have been designed for this technology. The range of mobile handsets available with CDMA, are a little more limited as compared to GSM. CDMA is a military technology first used during World War II by English allies to foil German attempts at jamming transmissions. :cry: :sos:

    For more info you may want to check out Basics about CDMA / EVDO
  • CMOS Sensor – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor are most widely used in mobile handset cameras. The reason for this is because these sensors require fewer components (perfect for space constraints) and lesser power so it also reduces the cost.
  • Core - A core, in its basic terminology, is a distinct CPU. Any singular core is capable of executing all of the necessary computations and instructions to ensure a smartphone can function at all. Learn more about Single Core / Multi - Core chips and find out whether you need them here.
  • Displays


    Posted Image


  • TFT LCD - Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display. TFT LCD type screens are also used in TV's and computer monitors.
  • QVGA – Quarter Video Graphics Array is 240 x 320 pixels, this is pretty standard for most mobile handsets
  • VGA - Video Graphics Array is 640 x 480 pixels for handsets with larger displays
  • WVGA - Wide Video Graphics Array 800 x 480.
  • OLED - Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Nokia's N85 uses this type of display.
  • AMOLED - Active Matrix OLED. An enhanced version of OLED screens, AMOLED screens used very commonly now, in phones like Nokia's N8. Active-matrix OLED displays provide higher refresh rates than their passive-matrix OLED counterparts, and they consume significantly less power.
  • Super AMOLED - Super AMOLED refers to touchscreens where the layer that detects touches is integrated onto the screen rather than being a layer on top of it. This leads to increased brightness and clarity. The Samsung Galaxy S bears this type of screen.
  • Super AMOLED Plus - First introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S II series smartphones, is a further development where the PenTile RGBG pixel matrix is replaced with a common RGB subpixels arrangement, going from eight to twelve subpixels in a group, resulting in finer details. The screen technology is also brighter, thinner and 18% more energy efficient.
  • Retina Display - First used in Apple's iPhone 4, the Retina Display is an IPS LCD screen that packs has a very high pixel density (number of pixels per inch), making it very hard for the naked eye to distinguish between pixels and therefore leading to seemingly higher quality.
  • EDGE - Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution can also be called EGPRS or Enhanced GPRS and means exactly what it states. It's one step above GPRS and provides for a little faster browsing and data transfer speeds.
  • ESN - An ESN is a numeric identifier that uniquely identifies a CDMA phone. The ESN is what a CDMA network uses to identify a phone and determine which subscriber's account, if any, it is linked to. Because of this, when switching from one phone to another, subscribers will have to provide the ESN of the new phone to the network carrier before it can be activated. The ESN is being phased out in favour of the MEID. This is happening because phone manufacturers are literally running out of ESN identifiers.
  • FDMA - Frequency Division Multiple Access-a transmission technique where the assigned frequency band for a network is divided into sub-bands which are allocated to a subscriber for the duration of their calls.
  • GSM - Global System for Mobile communications (originally from Groupe Spécial Mobile). To cut a long story very short is the technology that allows for mobile handsets to connect to service providers using any model phone or any service provider anywhere in the world. GSM handsets can be used with SIM cards.
  • GPRS - General Packet Radio Service is universal as a mobile data service (packet) for 2G and 3G networks. It provides data rates from 56 up to 114 kbit/s of information when connected to the net via the mobile handset's browser.
  • HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface : A standard for audio/video cables and connectors. HDMI supports and carries high-definition (HD) video and multi-channel audio over a single cable. It carries an all digital signal, ensuring high quality. Some phones have a Mini-HDMI (Type C) or Micro-HDMI (Type D) connector to allow the phone to be connected directly to a television, so that video content on the phone can be played back on a full-size television screen. This requires a HDMI cable with a Mini or Micro - HDMI connector on one end and a full size (Type A) HDMI connector on the other end.
  • Hot Swap Slot – A memory card slot that's accessible without having to remove the battery or the rear panel. Some handsets do have a memory card slot just under the rear panel that but you won't need to touch the battery. This could also be termed as a Hot Swap Slot.
  • HSCSD - High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data implies four times faster data transmission for mobile for users using GSM with rates up to 38.4 kbit/s. It's basically high speed implementation of standard GSM transfers.
  • HSDPA - High-Speed Downlink Packet Access is often associated with 3G. It allows networks to provide higher data transfer speeds and capacity. Current HSDPA deployments support down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.4 Mbit/s.
  • iDEN - is a mobile telecommunications technology, developed by Motorola, which provides its users the benefits of a trunked radio and a cellular telephone. iDEN places more users in a given spectral space, compared to analog cellular and two-way radio systems, by using speech compression and time division multiple access (TDMA).
  • IR – Infra Red is slowly being phased out these days with BT taking a bigger and more active role in a mobile handset's wireless mode of data transfer and communication. IR means having to keep two handsets aligned with their IR receivers facing each other or 'in line of sight' whereas Bluetooth doesn't not have such limitations and is faster as well.
  • Jailbreak – Jailbreaking means hacking into the core system of the iPhone so as to allow users to gain access to areas that were otherwise closed off (Unix File system).
  • Keypads
  • QWERTY – A full QWERTY keypad is a mobile keypad that would allow you to visualize and use this type of mobile input system as well as you would a desktop PC's keyboard. Each company tries to design their handsets keypad to mimic a PC's as best as they can.
  • SureType - or Half QWERTY keypad are essential the same. SureType is more specific to BlackBerrys.
  • Virtual Keypad - is an On-Screen keypad which is specific to handsets with touchscreens. These are also available in QWERTY, SureType or Half QWERTY as well as normal alphanumeric options.
  • Swype - Swype is a virtual keyboard which allows users to enter words by sliding a finger or stylus from letter to letter, lifting only between words. It uses error-correcting algorithms and a language model to guess the intended word. It also includes a tapping predictive text system in the same interface.
  • LTE - Long Term Evolution is the name given to a project associated with 3GPP to help improve and perhaps even standardize future mobile technology. A lot of devices that supported LTE connectivity were launched at CES 2011, but were marketed as 4G-enabled.

    Interested? Follow more about LTE here :grin:
  • Mail for Exchange – A more up scaled version of Push Mail would be Mail for Exchange. With an application being installed on the handset itself, this service would also download your emails in a real-time environment and also sync and integrate with your Contacts list and Calendar. Much like having MS Outlook on your mobile.
  • MEID - An ID number that is unique for each new CDMA mobile in the world. It identifies the phone to the network. MEID is a replacement for ESN. It began replacing ESN in 2005 since the pool of ESN numbers has been virtually exhausted due to the number of devices in use. It is equivalent to IMEI in GSM phones.
  • Memory Cards
  • Secure Digital Card (SD card) - SD cards are used in many small portable devices such as digital video camcorders, digital cameras, handheld computers, audio players and mobile phones. In use since 1999, SD Memory Cards are now available in capacities between 16 Megabytes and 1 Gigabyte, and still growing. An SD card typically measures 32 mm x 24 mm x 2.1 mm and weighs approximately 2grams.
  • MiniSD Card - After the success of the SD Card (Secure Digital Card), the miniSD Memory Card was developed to meet the demands of the mobile phone market. The MiniSD Card provides the same benefits as the SD Card, but is smaller than the original SD Card. MiniSD Cards are typically found in many newer mobile phones with features such as built-in digital cameras, downloading and games, basically the mobile phones where the miniSD can meet the requirements for increased data storage. MiniSD cards are 21.5 mm x 20 mm x 1.4 mm and generally provide 16MB to 256MB of storage.
  • MicroSD - Mainly used in mobile phones and other small handheld devices the MicroSD format is currently available in capacities up to 4GB, and it roughly 1/4th the size of the SD card at 15mm W 11mm W 0.7mm. The MicroSD card is also the smallest memory card available.
  • Card adapters can be purchased that enable backwards compatibility — this would allow MicroSD cards to work in SD and MiniSD slots, and also for MicroSD cards to work in SD card slots.
  • MultiMediaCard (MMC) - The MultiMediaCard (MMC) standard was introduced by SanDisk and Siemens in 1997. The card itself is 32 mm x 24 mm x 1.4mm and is often used in place of the SD card. Transfer speeds of a MMC is around 2.5MB/s and they can often be used in SD Card readers.
  • Sony Memory Sticks - Sony Memory Sticks are light, compact and designed for a wide variety of devices including digital cameras, recorders, and more. With the use of an adapter most Sony Memory Sticks can be used with almost all Memory Stick PRO compatible products.
  • Memory Stick Micro (M2): 15 mm x 12.5 mm x 1.2 mm
  • Memory Stick PRO: 50 mm x 21.5 mm x 2.8 mm. The Memory Stick PRO format has an an 8-bit parallel interface with theoretical transfer rates up to 480Mb/s. It is commonly used in high megapixel digital cameras and digital camcorders.
  • Memory Stick PRO DUO: 31 mm x 20 mm x 1.6 mm. The Memory Stick PRO Duo media is about one-third the volume and half the weight of standard-size media, but offers all the advanced functions of Memory Stick PRO media.
[/list]
  • Multi-Touch – This term is applied to specific usability on touchscreen mobiles that allow for specific actions. For example – the pinch to zoom feature in the Apple iPhone. It's a more sophisticated touchscreen feature that has hardware and software working simultaneously to recognize more than just one point of contact with the screen and responding to the same. Most touchscreen handsets' UI will not permit the use to multiple contacts with the screen to activate features and function.
  • Nav-Pad or D-Pad – This refers to the five way navigation pad that's usually located under the display and can be used to maneuver through menus and settings. The center key is for selecting options. Nokia also uses what they call a Navi-Wheel that's similar to the iPod's Click Wheel. It's soft touch scrolling in a circular motion for moving around a menu system.
  • NFC - Near Field Communication allows for the wireless communication to take place between mobile devices with a very fixed radius of about four inches. This system is not unlike BT or IR but it does have the limitation of distance.

    Read more into NFC here! :SI:
  • Podcasts – Podcasts are either video or audio snippets on various topics uploaded to the net via individuals, corporations, radio stations etc. that can be downloaded for playback on a mobile handset via an active internet connection. They're usually in the form of web feeds.
  • PRL - is a database residing in a wireless (primarily CDMA) device, such as a cellphone, that contains information used during the system selection and acquisition process. In the case of RUIM-based CDMA devices, the PRL resides on the RUIM. The PRL indicates which bands, sub bands and service provider identifiers will be scanned and in what priority order. Without a PRL, the device may not be able to roam, i.e. obtain service outside of the home area.
  • Proprietary Ports – As the name implies, it's the connectivity port for a handsfree, charger or USB that is design-specific to a single company's brand of handsets. It's also one of the more irritating aspects in the mobile phone industry. With a standard port, users can simply use wires from other products and vice-versa instead of hunting for a very specific wire that in most cases is only available with the handset manufacturer who would probably charge a premium rate.

    If you are confused about cables and wires, this topic may prove helpful - Guide to PC's cable and Wiring Posted Image
  • Push Mail – This service allows a handset with an active internet connection and support for the same to always download new messages from a designated server linked to your personal email address. What this means is, a real-time download of all incoming emails to your mailbox which you can access from your mobile as well as your PC.
  • Pwnage – To be Pwned is the same as street slang for 'Owned' i.e. to be taken for a ride (in some cases) or to be to be controlled against your will. In the world of the iPhone to have your iPhone Pwned, would mean to jailbreak it and gain access to all areas. A Pwnage tool is required to do just this.
  • RDS – Radio Data System is a very frequent term attached to the FM radio capabilities in a mobile handset. It's a method of transmitting small but useful snippets of digital information via the radio's frequencies that would include Track name, name of the artist etc.
  • SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) - A cell phone's SAR, or its Specific Absorption Rate, is a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the handset. All cell phones emit RF energy and the SAR varies by handset model

    Read more here.
  • Series 40 and Series 60 – S40 or S60 are mobile User Interfaces (UI) that work with the Symbian Operating System. S40 UIs are usually found in some of the lower end Nokia handsets and S60 can be found in some of the more advanced. Nokia has launched a touchscreen version of their Series 40 UI and of course, you'll all be familiar by now with the 5800 XpressMusic that uses a S60 touch based UI. Nokia's N8 had a new version of their Symbian UI, named Symbian ^3.
  • Tap-Screen/SurePress - The latest in touchscreen technology is RIM's offering in their BlackBerry Storm 9500. While the UI works quite like any other touchscreen interface with response to touch by sliding your fingers across the screen; in order to actually activate major functions or selections, the screen itself can be pressed, not unlike a normal button on a keypad. This technology is what we call Tap-Screen and what RIM calls SurePress.
  • UIQ - User Interface Quartz, is essentially a platform based on the Symbian Operating System (OS). A variant of sorts. Later versions are used in handsets that have touchscreen interfaces. The UIQ platform also allows for plenty of development and also supports Java.
  • UMTS - Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is one of the 3G mobile cellular technologies. Also understood as 3GSM in many cases, it essentially implies a sort of hybrid combination of 3G with its speed and GSM with a more globalised standard.
  • Unlock – Unlocking carrier locked phone implies you would be able to use it as an open GSM handset so that it would no longer be tied to a single carrier. You'd be free to use any service provider's SIM card and services attached to the same without disrupting the use of the handset in any way.
  • USB – Universal Serial Bus is simply a wired standard used for interfacing between a mobile handset and a PC for various purposes be it media and data transfer, backing up of information or even recharging the battery. Mobile phones usually have this in mini-USB and micro-USB variants.
  • VOIP - Voice over Internet Protocol, in the simplest sense, implies the ability to make voice calls over the internet. In a mobile phone it would mean the ability to make a call using Wi-Fi, EDGE or any other internet service the handset permits.
  • WAP - Wireless Application Protocol is simply the system used by a mobile handset to connect to the internet but it's a little more 'strictly' basic when compared to GPRS or EDGE.
  • W-CDMA - Wideband Code Division Multiple Access is another type of 3G network.
  • Wi-Fi - is a mode of wireless connectivity but with a stricter sense. It allows for mobile handsets to connect to Wi-Fi routers in a certain area for quick and high speed internet connectivity.
  • WiMAX - Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a wireless digital communications system intended for much larger areas as compared to Wi-Fi. It can provide broadband wireless up to 50 km for fixed stations, and 5 - 15 km for mobile stations. Wi-Fi on a much larger scale like EDGE/GPRS with broadband speeds.
Commonly Used Abbreviations with CDMA
  • MIN - Mobile Identification Number
  • ESN - Electronic Serial Number
  • PRL - Preferred Roaming List
  • SID - System Identification Number
  • SCM - Station Class Mark
  • CAI - Common Air Interface
  • A Key - Authentication Key
  • NAM - Numeric Assignment Module
  • SPC - Service Programming Code
Sourced part of the info from tech2, webopedia.



Feel free to add new terms to this topic Posted Image


Edit : Updated with more terms..


Edited by Karthik R, 14 September 2011 - 01:09 PM.

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#2 Genius

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 12:55 PM

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Good now thing is how to read such a big post, LOL
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#3 manishashar

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:04 PM

Nice article.

I will be sharing this on FB

#4 Honest

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:15 PM

+1 Karthik Bhai for the useful informational thread. :)
तू हर घड़ी, हर वक़्त, मेरे साथ रहा है,
हाँ ये जिस्म कभी दूर, कभी पास रहा है,
जो भी ग़म हैं ये तेरे, उन्हें तू मेरा पता दे,
कुछ इस तरह तेरी पलकें, मेरी पलकों से मिला दे,

आँसू तेरे सारे, मेरी पलकों पे सजा दे.......

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#5 _Kailash_

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:18 PM

+1 bro

nice info

#6 Karthik R

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:25 PM

@ Vinay bhai this award is certainly an honor. I do appreciate the recognition.

@ Manish sure buddy. Go ahead.

@ Kailash, Kamal bhai thanks a bunch :)
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#7 dpak

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:07 PM

its really a great work done.........+1 for you

#8 Karthik R

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:31 AM

Edit : Added HDMI to the list

Members can post here any terms where they need clarification. Forum experts will revert back :)
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#9 Narrow_Band_Minus

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:56 AM

Nice post... +1 for u !!

#10 kesav

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:53 PM

+10 for you Karthik...
You continue to amaze me with highly technical topics....
Keep up the good work....Forum is with you....
Since, your topics are hard core technicals, there may not be much discussions other than appreciations.
Please remember that your topics enthralls many so they don't have much thing to speak other than being bowled over....
Less posts in your thread means your presentation is top notch without any confusion which in itself is equivalent to million accolades....

#11 digitalnirvana

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:55 PM

Great post.

Also on ebay XDA CTO


#12 Karthik R

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:54 PM

Resistive vs Capacitive touch screens



If you are planning to buy a new smartphone, there is a good chance that you will ultimately land upon a touchscreen device. Most of the the mobile phones these days come with superior technology and a normal phone buyers generally gets confused when he tries to decode the tech specs associated with a handset.

And when it comes to touchscreen devices, the oft heard jargon is capacitive or resistive touchscreen phones. This post will help you understand the basic difference between these two types of touchscreen phones.

The most important of these is that there are actually two types of touchscreen predominantly used in phones – resistive and capacitive ^_^

How they work

Posted Image


Resistive touchscreens are pressure-sensitive. They work by detecting the amount of force which is applied to the screen. It doesn’t matter how you apply the force: you could press it with your finger, use a stylus or prod it with a stick. Generally you will have to apply a fair bit of pressure to a resistive touchscreen for it to register a response – most people use the tip of their fingernail or occasionally a stylus.

The resistive touchscreen itself is made up of several layers, the topmost of which flexes under your finger or stylus, and is pushed back onto a layer behind it. This effectively completes a circuit, telling the phone which part of the screen is being pressed.

As the oldest and simplest touchscreen technology, resistive touchscreens are cheap to produce. For this reason, they tend to be found in older or cheaper phones.

Posted Image


Capacitive touchscreens are sensitive to your body’s electric field. Capacitive is now the dominant technology for new high-end smartphones such as the Apple iPhone, HTC Desire and Blackberry Torch. Because capacitive touchscreens simply “sense” the existence of your finger electrically rather than requiring you to push down on the touchscreen they tend to be much more responsive. For example, it’s possible to simply glide your finger along the screen (e.g. unlock gesture) – something which is difficult with a resistive touchscreen.
Multi-touch screens are generally built on capacitive technology.

Disadvantages of capacitive touchscreen technology is that you cannot used it with gloves on (your body’s electric field cannot pass through the glove) and it cannot be used with a traditional mechanical stylus. However special capacitive touchscreen styluses are available.

Capacitive touchscreen technology also tends to be more expensive and is hence seen mainly in higher-end smartphones.

As resistive and capacitive aren't necessarily the words you will hear out on the high street, I am listing here some of the popular phones and exactly which sort of touchscreen they use.

  • HTC Hero Capacitive
  • HTC Magic Capacitive
  • Motorola Milestone Capacitive
  • Apple iPhone 3G Capacitive
  • Nokia N97 Resistive
  • HTC HD2 Capacitive
  • Samsung Epic 4G Capacitive
  • Samsung Corby Resistive
  • LG Cookie Resistive

If you didn’t understand the technical aspects no problem, if your use is limited to just the user-experience then undoubtedly a capacitive on is better any day than a resistive one :)

Sourced info from pcpro, neodragon

Edited by Karthik R, 24 February 2011 - 04:50 PM.

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#13 Honest

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:22 PM

+1 for the informational thread dear Karthik. :)
तू हर घड़ी, हर वक़्त, मेरे साथ रहा है,
हाँ ये जिस्म कभी दूर, कभी पास रहा है,
जो भी ग़म हैं ये तेरे, उन्हें तू मेरा पता दे,
कुछ इस तरह तेरी पलकें, मेरी पलकों से मिला दे,

आँसू तेरे सारे, मेरी पलकों पे सजा दे.......

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#14 Karthik R

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 09:06 PM

Wireless charging is making some serious headway in public mindshare. Once confined to toothbrushes and other simple household items, it's now a handy means of powering phones (HP's Touchstone, for example) and media players, and it'll soon be ready to charge up our notebooks and cameras at our command. Are we sure this is the future, or will this just be a passing fad? Why should it matter? Read on to get the answers to those burning questions.

What is wireless charging?



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The principle of wireless charging has been around for over a century, but only now are we beginning to recognize its true potential. First, we need to be careful about how liberal we use "wireless" as a term; such a word implies that you can just walk around the house or office and be greeted by waves of energy beamed straight to your phone but as of today the word merely refers to not using cords. Wireless charging is any of several methods of charging batteries without the use of cables or device-specific AC adaptors. It can be used for a wide variety of devices including cell phones, laptop computers and MP3 players as well as larger objects like electric cars. There are three methods of wireless charging : inductive charging, radio charging and resonance charging.

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In inductive charging, an adapter equipped with contact points is attached to the device's back plate. When the device requires a charge, it is placed on a conductive charging pad. Once the contact points come in contact with the conductive surface of the charging pad, a small current moves through the coils of the charging pad, creating a small magnetic field which is gathered by the contact points of the adapter and converted into energy. The energy gathered is transferred to the device's battery as efficiently as if the device were connected to a wall socket with its regular wired adapter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppkqEy4WSRo


Energizer Qi Wireless Charger: First Hands On by akaTRENT


It's a great idea, but one reason why this wireless tech has been restricted to nothing but a glorified conceptualization (until recently, anyways) is because no standard had been set. Each company was left to fend for itself, coming up with its own proprietary accessories for individual products. The bill of materials can rack up quickly when there's no standard and no interoperability, so how can such a ragtag operation really succeed?

Wireless charging standards

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Enter the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the masterminds behind Qi (pronounced 'Chee'). Sound familiar? If so, that's probably because it's getting into everything. Qi is a set of guidelines for inductive charging units that WPC is hoping will become the universal standard. It's rounded up 84 manufacturers, semiconductors, and telecom providers under its wing so far, a number which no other organizations have come close to matching. Qualcomm and CEA are still busy nailing down their own standards, both of which are set to hit the market sometime this year, so Qi is the current default. Even when the WPC finally has official competition, it's got an astronomical head start.

With so many businesses hopping on the bandwagon, this leaves more room for innovation and specialization of products. Interoperability of this magnitude can offer a large number of benefits: it's easier to market a product when you're backed up by an established protocol that everybody else uses, and the cost to consumers is much lower to get set up since everything is compatible. In a niche market, proprietary (or standalone) product lines are much more difficult for consumers to get behind. But once the vast majority of legit tech companies -- Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Energizer, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson are among WPC's list of members -- begin integrating Qi into phones, laptops, DSLR cameras, keyboards, kitchen countertops, and furniture, chances are you're a lot more tempted to buy a Qi-compatible product than something from a random yahoo. Think about it this way: we'd be much more inclined to board a train if it already has a destination, passengers, and enough manpower to get somewhere, rather than one that's empty and just sitting around waiting for people to show up. The Qi train looks entirely more salacious.

The WPC set certain guidelines for Qi because it not only wants to keep everything compatible, it's also ensuring its members will comply with certain safety rules, software guidelines, and other procedures that make it the most efficient charging option available. When your phone is plugged into a standard wall outlet, it's still soaking up way too much power even when the battery is full. Qi has set a guideline to cut the consumption levels down in this case. As a side effect, however, this method limits the amount of power transfer taking place even during a regular charge, which means it takes a bit longer to power something up completely. Fortunately, the transmitter and receiver can even send data to each other to determine if a battery is full and needs to stop charging.

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Energizer Qi-compatible charging pad powering up both a Samsung Droid Charge (with the inductive battery cover attached) and an iPhone 3GS with the Energizer sleeve. It doesn't matter which company made the product, any item that's Qi-certified will do the trick.


When the standard was established last year, the WPC came out with only one power setting for Qi: low. With a maximum power output of 5W, the low standard's only enough to power the smaller gadgets -- phones, media players, and anything else that doesn't require much of a charge. The medium setting, currently in the works, will take care of anything in the 5W - 120W range like notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and cameras. According to Pavan Pudipeddi on TI's battery management solutions team, it's taking longer to get this standard wrapped up, due to a conundrum that's taking extra time to solve: the difference between 5 and 120 is substantial, so how does a Qi surface tell between tablets (that require 25-30) and power-hungry notebooks (65-90)?

By no means is Qi the only wireless charging standard in development, but it definitely has a head start over the competing organizations. Here's a few of its main competitors:

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WiPower : This standard under development by Qualcomm involves near-field inductive charging with flexible couplings, so that it can transmit up to two inches (compared to Qi's few mm distance). It can also cover an 5- x 3-inch area so that multiple devices can fit on one square, rather than requiring one coil per device. The longer distance will be a strong advantage for WiPower, as it means you'd just have to stick a coil underneath a table or desk instead of taking Qi's method of integrating it directly into the surfaces -- a much more expensive approach, to be sure. This standard also offers a more flexible range, so you can take your laptop and move it around a little without it being stuck on your desk in one specific spot. Once it launches, it could prove to be a worthy adversary to keep Qi from floating away with the "Universal Standard" trophy.

UL : Underwriters Laboratories announced last year that it was building its own low-power inductive charging standard called UL 2738. Catchy name, right? There's a tricky thing about this particular standard -- it will be mandated. This may sound like a familiar idea to you; if you've taken a close look at power supplies or light products, you may have seen a UL label printed somewhere on them. The standard is wholly safety-based, which means it's completely separate from the other protocols. Fortunately, everyone can co-exist with the UL in perfect harmony. We can't stress enough how crucial this is to paving the way to the tech's future; wireless chargers that need mandated certifications from the UL are a huge indicator that there is a very strong interest in this type of service becoming mainstream, available on every street corner.

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CEA : Similarly, the CEA created the Wireless Charging Working Group to begin work on its own standard, which should be ready to be submitted to the CEA management board by the end of this year, and then on to get approval from the IEEE. Its guidelines will be much broader in scope than the WPC and include a wide range of technologies. Also, in a similar fashion to UL, this particular standard will be inclusive of other protocols, and several members of the WPC -- such as Qualcomm, Intel, GM, Powermat, and Motorola -- have joined with this working group.

As a side note, we could only find one company that has pledged support and membership with all four major protocols: Powermat. This won't mean its products will change from its proprietary charging method and become universal per se, but it does opens up the door for it to work in conjunction with these protocols and partner with multiple manufacturers. It also offers the company additional flexibility if any change in strategy is necessary.

Health implications

A huge point of concern when developing these kinds of standards is how it will affect our health. When thinking about wireless, it's easy to envision radioactive waves zapping us as they float around in the air -- and we have every right to know if this type of charging will cause us any type of harm. In the case of inductive charging, however, we won't need to worry about trying to duck the attack of invisible rays. The WPC established guidelines to ensure its products won't expose us to levels of radiation or ionization that could cause any harm to human tissue.

As an example, the WPC quotes the ICNIRP, a scientific committee that has published its own guidelines on exposure limits. It states: "there is no substantive evidence that adverse health effects, including cancer, can occur in people exposed to levels at or below the ICNIRP limits." According to the studies conducted by this committee, so long as Qi and the other standards see to it that products don't exceed the max exposure, we shouldn't be concerned. Check out More Coverage at the bottom to get more details on these studies.

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Radio charging is used for charging items with small batteries and low power requirements, such as watches, hearing aids, medical implants, cell phones, MP3 players and wireless keyboard and mice. Radio waves are already in use to transmit and receive cellular telephone, television, radio and Wi-Fi signals. Wireless radio charging works similarly. A transmitter, plugged into a socket, generates radio waves. When the receiver attached to the device is set to the same frequency as the transmitter, it will charge the device's battery.

Resonance charging is used for items that require large amounts of power, such as an electric car, robot, vacuum cleaner or laptop computer. In resonance charging, a copper coil attached to a power source is the sending unit. Another coil, attached to the device to be charged, is the receiver. Both coils are tuned to the same electromagnetic frequency, which makes it possible for energy to be transferred from one to the other. The method works over short distances (3-5 meters).

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See how it works in your electric car here B)

Credit : Engadget, searchmobilecomputing
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#15 omk4r

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:08 AM

This really helped.




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