A-GPS (Assisted GPS)
Assisted GPS (A-GPS) is used to speed up start-up times of GPS-based positioning systems. GPS may have problems getting a lock when the signal is weak and in such a case A-GPS would assist in getting a lock.
This, however, is achieved by the use of an Assistance Server, so a data connection is required and charges may apply for the data transfer.
A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile)
A2DP is used for streaming stereo music wirelessly to headphones or speakers over Bluetooth.Unlike other Bluetooth profiles (Headset and Handsfree), A2DP is one-way only and streams a stereo signal.
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)
AAC is a file format for storing digital audio. It’s commonly used for storing music on the Internet, PCs and portable music players and phones.
It is similar to MP3, but it was designed to be its successor and offers better quality and smaller file sizes. It also supports DRM, which enforces copyright.
AAC+ and AAC++ are newer versions of the standard.
The accelerometer is a built-in electronic component that measures tilt and motion. It is also capable of detecting rotation and motion gestures such as swinging or shaking.
The most common use for it is to activate auto screen rotation on mobile devices when the user changes their orientation from portrait to landscape or vice-versa.
Another modern application for the accelerometer is to control the mobile device music player with gestures (Sony Ericsson Shake control or Samsung Motion play technologies).
Accelerometers are also utilized for enriching the gaming controls (navigating by tilting the device instead of by pressing keys).
Another popular mobile phone feature based on an accelerometer is turn-to-mute. It allows user to mute an incoming call, silence an alarm or pause the mobile music player simply by turning the device face down.
Airplane mode or Flight Mode
Known also as Airplane mode, this mode disables all radio parts of a mobile phone but leaves other functions available. These include music player, organizer and everything that doesn’t require the radio transmitters.
This mode is required because most airlines forbid the use of wireless devices during flight. Some airlines do not allow the use of such devices even in Airplane mode.
There is an industry standard icon to signify that airplane mode is on but not all phones use it.
This mode is required for several reasons. Preventing interference with the airplane equipment is the best known one but another reason is that cell towers cannot handle phones moving at high altitudes and speeds.
This is a feature allowing a mobile phone to act like a common alarm clock but with more flexibility.
Currently, all mobile phones offer this functionality with varying feature sets. For example, most devices allow you to set an unlimited number of alarms and set them to repeat on a daily or weekly basis. Some even allow a customizable snooze period and with the most advanced devices you can silence an alarm just by turning the device face down.
Using a favorite FM radio station as an alarm tone is also an option with some handsets.
Some phones require the device to be on for the alarm to work while others do not.
A string of characters containing both letters (A-Z) and numbers (0-9).
An alphanumeric text entry field will accept both letters and numbers. An alphanumeric keypad is one with both letters and numbers on the keys.
AMOLED display (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode)
AMOLED is a display technology used in portable devices like mobile phones. Active-matrix OLED displays provide the same performance as their passive-matrix OLED counterparts, but they consume significantly less power.
This advantage makes active-matrix OLEDs well suited for portable electronics where battery power consumption is critical.
A method of transmitting information using energy waves. It doesn’t have discrete levels but is a continuously variable wave. Human voice for example is transferred by directly converting the sound wave to electricity.
Analog cell phones (known also as 1G) used this technology. However virtually all modern cell phones use digital signals (2G or later).
Android is a Linux-based smartphone operating system and software platform created by Andy Rubin,but now has been purchased by Google.
ANT is a wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks.
ANT is an ultra low power protocol that is able to operate off of small batteries, such as coin cells.
ANT peripherals typically operate in a broadcast mode that can be received from multiple handsets or displays simultaneously.
ANT+ (built on the base ANT protocol) defines standardized device profiles that specify data formats, channel parameters and network keys. A “profile” defines a specific use case, or data set. The most common ANT+ profile is heart rate (HR), and is used by many heart rate monitors in the market today.
Other examples of ANT+ profiles include:
Bicycle Speed & Cadence (S&C)
Bicycle Power (PWR)
Weight Scale (WGT)
Blood Pressure (BP)
Also, you can have several sensors work with a single receiving display or have several receiving displays read the information from a single sensor.
ANT+ ensures trouble-free interoperability, allowing ANT+ products by different makers to work together as long as all paired devices support the same profiles (denoted by teh respective ANT+ activity icons).
The physical device used for sending/receiving radio waves. Older phones used external antennas while most current phones use an internal antenna. The size and shape of the antenna is designed according to the type of radio waves being used.
APN (Access Point Name)
APN is the name (web address) of an access point for GPRS/EDGE/UMTS data connection. Usually wireless carriers provide the APN to their end users.
Apple’s iOS is the company’s own mobile operating system developed and originally released on the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPod Touch back in 2007.
Several years later it was renamed to iOS and was extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPad and the Apple TV.
Unlike Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Apple does not license iOS to other manufacturers and it is the sole maker and seller of iOS devices.
The aptX audio codec is a proprietary audio codec compression algorithm, which allows the real-time streaming of high quality stereo audio over a Bluetooth A2DP connection between a source device and the accessory device.
aptX technology must be incorporated in both the source and the accessory device for it to have any effect. Full backwards compatibility however allows audio streaming even when one of the devices is not aptX compatible, though in this case, the connection won’t benefit from the technology.
A common connector for plugging in a standard pair of music headphones such as the ones found on music players, computers and most other electronic devices with audio outputs.
It can support stereo and/or microphone, depending on the number of separate connector rings on the jack.
Some phones offer only a 2.5 mm jack, which is a smaller variety of the same principle.
Headphones supplied with mobile phones usually have a mic somewhere along the cable and a remote button that allows for managing calls without using the phone.
Some manufacturers opt for placing a 3.5mm audio jack on this remote control instead of directly on the phone itself. The reason for this is that 3.5mm jacks take up quite a lot of internal space; plus, in this way the user gets to keep the remote control/mic functionality while using third-party headphones.
Auto-focus is a feature of digital cameras that allows them to focus correctly on a subject. It enhances the quality of the photo over fixed-focus cameras and allows for close-ups (or the even closer macro shots).
Phones use passive auto-focus with contrast measurement. This means that the camera needs contrast to focus and have problems focusing on a blank wall or in low light conditions.
Some phones can use their camera LEDs as a focus assist light to help deal with the latter case.
AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile)
AVRC is a Bluetooth profile that allows remote control of media playback on other devices. Supported functions are play, pause, stop, next, and previous.
It is usually coupled with A2DP so that, for example, wireless headphones use A2DP to stream the music and AVRC to control playback.
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