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Wireless Basics
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Wirefly Learn » Resources » Wireless Basics

May 31st, 2009


Today’s cell phones are not only a means to communicate. More and more, they are becoming a way for the user to be entertained and to make a lifestyle statement. This is why the majority of phones come with a number of personalization features–such as different ringtones, “skins” or faceplates–as well as games.

Polyphonic ringtones.

Cell phone polyphonic ringtones are ringtones that can produce more than one note at the same time. In music, groups of two or more notes played at the same time are called “chords.” The more chords a polyphonic ringtone produces, the more exciting its texture.

Custom ringtones.

Some cell phones give you the capability of changing the built-in ringtones with others of your choice. Some cell phones have a built-in function that allows you to “compose” a custom ringtone, while with others you have to download ringtones composed on a PC or another phone.

Preloaded ringtones.

Most of today’s cell phones come with a number of preloaded ringtones from which the user can choose; each produces a different sound or melody, which can be used to set up custom caller IDs.

Ringer profiles.

The ringer profiles features allows a cell phone user to set up different ringer settings so that each “profile” can be activated for different situations. For instance, when you are at work you may want your ringer settings to be businesslike and quiet, while when you are on vacation you may allow yourself something more colorful.

Ringer profiles are not confined to ringtones, but also include vibrate, flashing lights, etc.

MP3 ringtones.

Some cell phones allow the user to download short MP3 music files and use them as ringtones instead of the standard preloaded tones.

Picture caller ID.

Picture caller ID is allows you to associate a picture or image to any of the contacts in your phone book. This way, when you receive a call from one of these contacts, you see their picture as well as their phone number.

Multiple languages.

Many cell phones give you the capability of displaying prompts in different languages, the most common in the US being English, Spanish or French.

In some cases, multiple-language capabilities extend to predictive text entries. In other words, if you tap “Lun” and your phone is set to English, the predictive text will suggest “lunch”; if your phone is set to French, it will suggest “Lundi” (French for Monday).

Languages supported.

This is the list of languages supported by a cell phone with multiple language capabilities.


Many cell phones give the user the ability to play games. Games may come preloaded in the cell phone, available for download and/or available on the wireless Internet to enjoy on a pay-per-use basis.

Customizable faceplates.

A faceplate is the cover that fits around the phone’s keypad; faceplates are customizable when they can be replaced with different ones available as accessories.

Customizable graphics.

This is a feature that allows the user to customize the image(s) displayed on the phone’s display as screensaver, wallpaper, caller-ID graphics, etc.

Many phones come with a bank of graphics from which a user can select. In other cases, images can be downloaded or even received via multimedia messaging. More sophisticated phones even have built-in image editors.

Customizable themes.

A theme is a set of matching visual elements that appear on the phone’s screen, such as background image, menu, icons, etc. Also called “skin,” a theme can be something like the outdoors, sports, high tech, etc.

A phone with customizable themes allows the user to select a theme from a bank or to import it to the cell phone via a download.

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

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