Maybe you already know what NFC is. And perhaps the words “quad core” is enough to send chills up your spine. For lay people, however, the mobile scene can sure pack a staggering load of new terms and buzz words.
While that may have been fine in the past, when tech was strictly the domain of specialists and geeks, today’s crop of smartphones, tablets and mobile services requires at least a base-minimum understanding, just so everyday consumers know what their options are.
In honor of Mobile World Congress this week, CNN came up with a list of “jargon” to help the n00bs among us — which is a noble effort. Unfortunately, a quick glance reveals that this collection is far from complete, even for an elementary guide.
Here, take a look:
Android: An operating system created for mobile devices by a consortium of tech firms led by Google. Different versions of Android are typically named after sugary treats, namely Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich.
AMOLED: Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode. This is the technology behind ultra-thin display screens used on many smartphones. These use on-off switching to consume less power than previous “passive matrix OLED” displays.
Cloud computing: The offloading of data storage or processing to the internet or a shared network. Cloud technology allows phones to outsource their functions, provided there’s a good Wi-Fi connection.
4G: Fourth generation. A loose term covering the wireless network technology that will power the next generation of mobile phones. Already deployed in parts of Europe it promises data speeds of 300Mbps — 20 times faster than existing 3G networks.
Haptics: Tactile feedback, in the form of tiny vibrations, that helps users interact with their touch screens.
Ice Cream Sandwich: Not as tasty as it sounds. This is the latest version of Android operating system.
iOS: A mobile operating system created by Apple to run devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
MBPS: Mega bits per second. The rate at which data flows to-and-from devices. The bigger the number, the faster the flow.
MVAS: Mobile value-added service (see VAS).
NFC: Near field communication: Technology that allows smartphones to communicate with other nearby devices. It allows simple data transfer between mobiles. It can also be used in contactless payment systems, allowing mobiles to behave like debit cards.
OLED: Display screen technology (see AMOLED).
Padphones: Is it a pad? Is it a phone? It’s both! These tablet devices feature a phone docking station, allowing a phone’s functions to be upgraded into a tablet environment.
Playbook: An operating system created by Reasearch In Motion to run its BlackBerry range of tablets
Quad core: Refers to the phone’s capacity for crunching data. The higher the number of processing cores, the faster the phone. The quad cores unveiled in Barcelona should, in theory, be the fastest to date, capable of simultaneously running several complex apps. This will, however, depend on whether they work well with phone operating systems.
SMS: Short message system — or text messaging. The original and, some say, the best mobile phone app. This cheap, widely-available, stripped-down communication system refuses to die despite technology advances.
Stylus: Once thought extinct, the stylus seems to be making a comeback this year. This detachable pointer allows users to prod and write on their touch screens with greater accuracy — until it gets left in the back of a taxi.
Symbian: Mobile phone operating system maintained by technology firm Accenture. Symbian was favored almost exclusively by Nokia, but Nokia is now switching to a mobile version of Microsoft’s Windows 7.
3G: Third generation. The technology currently being used by many mobile systems. These support data transfer rates that allow users to surf the internet and watch videos.
VAS: Value-added service. Usually refers to any device function beyond its core purpose. Once upon a time, this meant any functionality above phone calls and text messages, but user-expectations are somewhat higher these days.
There are some pretty big holes on this list — they covered “haptic,” but not “capacitive”? And where the heck is “Windows Phone”? — but instead of just sitting back and grousing, let’s help the cause and expand on it. What’s missing that an average smartphone or tablet user would need to know?
Give it your best shot. You can deposit your term(s)/buzz word(s), plus description(s), down below in the comments. Make it as serious — or as snarky — as you want.
And while you’re at it, why not forward this link around to the uninitiated in your life? That would sure make things easier than trying to explain it all.