IT & Telecoms Jargon Buster: Smartphones

Smartphones are evolving, bringing new technical jargon that you need to know. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide, explaining all the specialist terms that you need to know for Mobile technology.


4G is short for fourth generation broadband cellular network technology. It’s what allows customers outside of WiFi to make calls, send texts and use data. Most devices on the market will currently be 4G enabled.


5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity that will give customers greater speeds than 4G. It was first introduced in May 2019 and will have a huge impact on the way we live and work. The number of 5G ready devices is beginning to expand and they will eventually be the default.


AMOLED is a display technology and stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes. It is a type of OLED display used in smartphones. HD+ Dynamic AMOLED technology ensures a crisp, vibrant viewing experience, as seen on devices such as the Galaxy S20 Ultra from Samsung.


Android is a mobile operating system from Google. The key difference between Android and Apple’s OS is Android is open source, meaning developers can modify and customise the OS for each phone.


Aperture is essentially an opening of the camera lens through which light passes. The more light that passes through, the sharper the image. It is usually measured in F-stops and has a direct bearing on the detailing and contrast of the photograph. The ability to set the aperture on a smartphone camera is relatively new.


A bezel is the border between the phone’s screen and frame. Modern smartphones often come with a smaller bezel, allowing for more screen real estate.


Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard used for exchanging data, such as media files, between mobile devices. It operates over short distances using radio waves. In mobile device terms, it is now permitting file share and connectivity to external devices, such as wireless speakers or headphones.

Dual Lens

A dual lens set up on a smartphone simply means there is two lenses instead of one. In most phones it combines wide-angle and telephoto configuration.


A dual-sim device is simply a device that can operate two separate sim cards concurrently. This is useful for users wanting two distinct numbers while only needing one device. For example having two separate SIMs for business and personal use, on one phone.


In smartphone terms, a device that is dustproof is simply resistant to dust, meaning it won’t be affected by particles infiltrating the crevices of the phone. This is a standard feature of many rugged phones.


A drop-proof device is simply a phone that is resistant to damage when dropped. The phone drop test is an industry standard method for measuring how drop-proof a phone is.

Facial Recognition Technology

Commonly known as Face ID on Apple Devices, or Face Unlock on others, facial recognition technology uses biometrics to map facial features and verify users. It is commonly used to unlock phones and authorise payments.

Fingerprint recognition

Fingerprint scanners work as you would expect, reading a user’s fingerprint in order to unlock phones, make purchases and confirm downloads. It is known as Touch ID on iPhones and is argued to be more secure than facial recognition technology on smartphones as fingerprints cannot be impersonated.

Gorilla Glass

Gorilla Glass is a brand of chemically strengthened glass developed and manufactured by Corning. It is often used in screen protectors to help reduce scratches and cracks in the device screen.


The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of at least 24 satellites. In smartphones, it allows people to navigate their journey in maps, as well as capturing location data for personalised offers.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is a common feature on both iOS and Android phones. It helps users take better quality photos by capturing multiple photos at different exposures – darker, normal and lighter, with just one tap of a button. It then merges them into one image so none of the detail is lost. This means highlights get brighter and shadows get darker giving users a high quality final image.


iOS is the mobile operating system created and developed by Apple, used on iPhones and iPads.

IP Rating

An IP rating, or Ingress Protection Rating, classifies the degrees of protection against both solids and liquids in electrical enclosures, such as smartphones and tablets. IP ratings are specified on a number of devices currently in market.


MMS is an acronym for Multimedia Messaging Service, a standard way to send text messages that include multimedia content to and from a mobile device over a cellular network.


NFC stands for Near Field Communication and enables short-range communication between compatible devices. It enables tap-and-go services, such as Apple and Google Pay.


Unlike other screen technologies, OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diode, uses organic compounds to create colours. Each colour represented on the screen has a different mixture of elements. Many smartphones now utilise an OLED display to make images, videos and icons look crisp and vibrant.


Optical Image Stabilisation, or OIS, is a common reference point for smartphone manufacturers when it comes to the camera. With OIS, part of the lens physically moves to counteract any camera slight movement when taking a picture, reducing the effect of shaky hands and helping to prevent blurry images.

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode uses depth of field to determine how much of the photograph is in focus. This feature results in photos with blurred backgrounds and sharper focus on the subject.


SMS is an acronym for Short Message Service. It is the most widely used type of text messaging carried over a cellular network.

Ultra-wide lens

An ultra-wide camera lens allows users to capture more in their photos. It displays a wider field of view than our own vision, with as much as 123 degrees promised on selected smartphones. It’s perfect for users who want to capture more in a single shot.


Waterproof technology allows devices to survive in the wettest conditions. The industry standard Ingress Protection (IP) rating system proves devices can handle complete submersion in water. IP68 waterproof phones are the most reliable to use in water, whether in the rain or fully submerged.

WiFi Hotspot

A WiFi hotspot is an area with an accessible wireless network.

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