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Jargon Buster - Mobile Communications and Smartphones

Mobile communication services and devices are constantly evolving. This brings with it new technology, new features and new technical jargon that you need to get your head around. 


To help, we’ve created this guide to some of the most common terms you’ll hear with explanations of what each of them means.

Read on to find the answers to all the technical jargon you need to know in the mobile industry right now! If you finish this and want to learn even more, check out our VoIP and Broadband jargon buster guides.



4G stands for fourth generation broadband cellular technology. It follows on from 3G and can offer download speeds of up to 100Mbps. It allows customers to make calls, send texts and use data without using WiFi.


5G is a next generation mobile connectivity technology that supersedes 4G. It was introduced in May 2019 and is still being rolled-out across mobile devices, but it will eventually become the default technology used.


This stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes. It is a type of display used in smartphones which provides a crisp, vibrant viewing experience.


Android is Google’s mobile operating system. The main difference between Android and other operating systems such as Apple’s, is that Android is open source, meaning developers are able to modify the OS for each phone.


Aperture can be defined as the opening in the camera lens through which light passes. The more light which passes through the lens, the sharper the image. It is normally measured in F-stops.

Band (Dual-band and Tri-Band)

All new UK phones are dual-band which means that they can switch between two frequencies which improves coverage in the UK and Europe. Tri-band phones can switch between three frequencies allowing you to use your device in more countries such as North America, Australia, and New Zealand.


Bezels are the border between a phone’s screen and its frame. Modern smartphones are evolving to have smaller and smaller bezels (many are becoming ‘bezel-less’) which allows for a larger screen.


A wireless standard used for exchanging data, such as media files, between fixed and mobile devices using radio waves. It can be used to transfer files between devices but can also be used to allow you to play music on your phone on wireless speakers.


Cloud-storage allows you to store documents, photos, music, videos, and other files online. It means that you are not using up your devices built-in storage and that you can access these files from other devices.

Dual Lens

If your camera has dual lens, it means it has two lenses instead of one. This helps in capturing and shooting photos, and in many phones it used to combine wide-angle and telephoto configuration.


If your mobile is dual-sim, this means it can support the use of two different sim cards at the same time. This is useful for people who may want one device but need two numbers - for example, a work number and a personal number.


A dustproof device is resistant to dust. This doesn’t mean it won’t ever get dusty, but it does mean small particles are less like to infiltrate into the phone’s crevices.


Drop-proof means your device is resistant to damage when dropped from a height. It doesn’t mean your phone can’t be broken if dropped, just that it is less likely to be damaged.

Facial Recognition Technology

Normally known as Face Unlock or Face ID, this technology uses biometrics to map facial features and verify users. It is often used to authorise payments or to unlock phones and other devices.

Fingerprint Recognition

Fingerprint scanners are increasingly common on modern smartphones and read a user’s fingerprint to unlock phones, make purchases and confirm downloads. It is argued to be more secure than facial recognition technology because fingerprints are unique and cannot be impersonated.

Gorilla Glass

A brand of glass manufactured by Corning which has been chemically strengthened. You will often see it used in screen protectors which can be used to help avoid scratches and cracks in the screen of your device.


GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a satellite-based navigation system made up of at least 24 satellites. GPS is what allows you to navigate your journey in maps, as well as what allows apps that require location data to know where you are.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

A common feature on Android and Apple phones, HDR captures multiple photos at different exposures when you take a picture. It then merges them into one for darker shadows and brighter highlights to give a higher quality final image.


iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system which is used on iPhones and iPads.

IP Rating

An Ingress Protection (IP) Rating denotes the level of protection a device has against solids and liquids. The greater the IP rating, the better your device is protected.


mAh stands for milliampere Hour. The higher the mAh set against a battery on a smartphone, the longer your smartphone will last before it needs recharging.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a way of sending text messages that include multimedia content over a cellular network between mobile devices.


NFC is an acronym which stands for Near Field Communication. It enables quick, short-range communication between compatible devices.


Organic Light Emitting Diode technology uses organic compounds to create colours. Most smartphones have an OLED display which makes images and other content show on its display crisper and more vibrant.


Optical Image Stabilisation stands for the ability of a camera lens to move to counteract movement when taking a picture. This prevents blurry images by reducing the effect of shaky hands.

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode creates a depth-of-field effect which results in photos with blurred backgrounds and sharper focus on the subject.


When you go abroad, turning on Roaming (or International Roaming as it is sometimes called) means you can use your device on another network. Roaming can lead to additional charges so it is worth checking with your network provider and your plan before using it.

Sim-Only (SIMO)

If you are looking for a sim-only contract, you are looking for a mobile tariff which doesn’t come with a mobile phone. If you already have a mobile device you want to keep, sim-only deals can offer great value for money.


SMS stands for Short Message Service. Text only messages sent over the cellular network are delivered as an SMS message - it is the most common type of technology used for messaging.

Ultra-wide lens

Ultra-wide camera lenses allow photos to be taken which show a wider field of view than our own vision. This means that users can capture more in a single shot.


Waterproof devices are protected against the wettest conditions and can survive submersion in water. They are IP rated (see our definition for this above), although it should be noted that being waterproof doesn’t mean a device cannot be water damaged - it is simply more resistant to it!

WiFi Hotspot

A WiFi hotspot is an area with an accessible wireless network. These are most often used to allow users to connect out to the internet. Most smartphones allow users to create mobile WiFi hotspots which allows them to share cellular 3G/4G connectivity with other nearby devices.


To find out about our mobile options, check out YorMobile or contact us here!


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