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Understanding the latest phone jargon

Confused by the latest phone jargon? Read our easy guide to the latest mobile phone technical terms and hot new features.

Making sense of the jargon around the latest mobile phones can often be tricky, but fear not. Our guide to the latest mobiles will give you all the information you need to find the right handset.

With amazing mobile internet capabilities, apps, touchscreens and a staggering array of features, the latest mobile phones are changing our perception of what a handset can do. Some of the latest phones are now so advanced and powerful that they are closer to mini computers than a mere mobile device.

What features can I expect?

The best and newest mobile phones are known as smartphones. Although there is no industry-wide definition of a smartphone, the term is generally understood to refer to multi-functional phones that blur the lines between computers, digital cameras and internet tablets. This blending of technology and functionality is known as 'convergence'.

Compare the latest mobile phones at uSwitch now.

Android phones

One of the key trends of the mobile phone market in recent years has been the emergence of Android phones. These are simply handsets that use Google’s mobile operating system. The massive adoption of Android by consumers has seen more and more manufacturers bring Android handsets to market, including LG, Sony Ericsson, HTC and Samsung.

Android phones come with a great set of pre-installed applications, such as YouTube, Gmail and Google’s all-conquering search engine, plus thousands more available from the Android Market software store. Android also cleverly co-ordinates a handset’s functions so that they work as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This is what allows users to multi-task (for example compose an email while listening to music) without time lags – something that’s increasingly essential in a world where phones are brimming with more and more features.

Compare the latest Android mobile phones at uSwitch now.

Touchscreens

Rather than a traditional keypad, the latest mobile phones are increasingly likely to feature a touchscreen. Touchscreen phones allow user to access functions, make calls and input text messages simply by touching the screen. Most people find that touchscreen user interfaces make handsets more intuitive and easier to use than ever.

The very latest mobiles even feature a type of touchscreen technology called multi-touch. Unlike other models, these handsets are able to recognise more than one press at a time, and can recognise gestures you make with more than one finger simultaneously. The best example of this is the pinch to zoom function that is supported by the iPhone and Android mobiles.

Compare the latest touchscreen mobile phones at uSwitch now.

Apps

Perhaps the biggest selling point of the smartphones is support for applications. The term apps refers to paid-for or free software that can be downloaded to the users’ phone from online application markets. Some examples of the software available include weather apps, restaurant guides, sports and gym apps and literary apps.

By downloading applications, a mobile phone owner is effectively empowered to change the functionality of their handset every day. This is in contrast to older mobiles where the functions were limited to those that were pre-installed on purchase.

High end cameras

Once upon a time, mobiles were home to simple VGA cameras which were really only suitable for taking fun snaps. However, the latest phones feature lenses and imaging capabilities that rival dedicated digital cameras. They increasingly also feature photo editing software and a series of picture effects, so that users can be sure of capturing the best image possible.

Multi-tasking

Powerful processors and chipsets, such as those manufactured by Snapdragon, combine with efficient operating systems to let phone users multi-task – for instance, by writing an email while listening to music and surfing the internet. This makes the latest phones great for making the most of your time.

Compare the latest cameraphones at uSwitch now.

QWERTY keyboards

These are physical keypads that are designed to make it easy and fast to compose emails and work on the go. These are incredibly useful for business handsets, like Blackberries, which feature MS Office document viewing and editing functions.

Compare the latest QWERTY phones at uSwitch now.

How do I find out more about the latest mobile phones?

uSwitch Mobile Phones runs daily news and blogs about all the latest mobile phones and trends in the sector. This is an excellent resource for keeping up to date with new developments and finding out about forthcoming phones and their release dates.

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