When you leave the house, cell phones are everywhere, and most of them are Smartphones. Everyone seems to have one, kids in school, adults, even seniors are using them. When you enter a phone store there are so many different brands, features, and service compatibility. It’s hard to know which phone is better than the next, which phone has all the ‘new’ technology and which phone will have the function to do what you want it to. Here are some terms to know when reading the info cards next to all the phones on the wall of the phone store.
3G, 4G: This refers to third- and fourth-generation mobile telecommunications services for high-speed culluar data transmission. While 4G is faster than 3G, LTE (below) is faster yet.
Android version: A version of Google’s popular operating system, which determines compatibility with software apps. It is denoted by both a name (generally a type of food) and a number. There are several, with the current version referred to as Android 4.4, or KitKat.
CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access, one of the competing 3G and 4G standards for radio transmissions over cellular communications networks, is used in the U.S. by providers Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and Sprint.
ETF: Early termination fee, which is the amount a cellular service subscriber must pay in order to terminate a service contract before it has ended.
GSM: Global Standard for Mobile Communications,the other 3G and 4G standard for radio transmissions of cellular communications, is the more popular wireless standard for mobile communications worldwide. It’s used in the United States by providers such as AT&T and T-Mobile.
Gesturing: Controlling a smartphone by moving your hand, eliminating the need to actually touch the screen.
LTE, WiMax: Standards for high-speed mobile broadband Internet service. WiMax is being phased out in favor of LTE, the newest standard.
SIM card: Subscriber identity module, a removable identity card required in GSM phones to activate the hardware and service.
Unlocked: A phone purchased without a service contract, usually at full retail price.