Mobile phone FAQs

Everything you've ever wanted to know about mobile phones

What is Bluetooth and why would I use it?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices such as mobile phones. It uses a short-range (1-10 metre) radio frequency, so the devices don’t have to be in line of sight of each other and can even be in other rooms. Bluetooth is mainly used for hands-free devices such as Bluetooth headsets and hands-free kits, as well as transferring files from a phone to a PC or vice versa.

How do I use e-mail on my phone?

Many phones support standard e-mail accounts such as Yahoo!, Windows Live Mail and Gmail, as well as being able to connect your work or corporate e-mail account. If you phone supports e-mail, using it is usually a simple matter of entering your account details and any settings required. Many phones also allow you to download and edit e-mail attachments.

What is a smartphone?

A smartphone is a mobile phone with computer-like features which may include e-mail capabilities, a personal organiser, a touch screen or a keyboard. Smartphones usually offer more data capabilities and connectivity options than a regular mobile phone, and most can have applications “installed” on them, just like a computer. Examples of popular smartphones include Apple's iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry and the range of Google Android smartphones like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a removable “smartcard” that must be inserted into a mobile phone. SIM cards securely identify a mobile phone to the mobile phone network. You need a SIM card to make phone calls. A SIM card also allows you to change phones but keep your mobile number by simply removing the card from one mobile phone and inserting it into another. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module.

Can I browse the Internet on my phone?

Most mobile phones allow basic Internet browsing, although low-end models may only display Web sites that have been optimised for viewing on mobile phones. Carriers charge special data rates for Internet access, but a set data allowance is often included in most plans.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows connection to a data network when in range of an “access point”. A Wi-Fi enabled mobile phone can connect to the Internet when close to an access point or “wireless hotspot” (the region covered by one or several access points). Wi-Fi also allows devices to connect directly with each other.

What is HSDPA?

HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access and is a 3G mobile standard that provides higher data transfer speeds and capacity. Current HSDPA networks have the capacity to provide each customer with up to 30 gigabytes of data per month.

What are the different shapes mobile phones come in?

There are three main shapes (form factors) of mobile phones: candy bar, clamshell (also called flip) and slider phones. There are also a few variations of these, such as a flip phone that may also swivel.

What is A2DP?

A2DP is a Bluetooth technology that allows you to wirelessly stream music from your mobile phone to a compatible Bluetooth accessory, such as a pair of Bluetooth headphones. A2DP is becoming more common on mobile phones as more music features are offered.

Can I connect my phone to a computer?

Generally, yes. Most mobile phones can connect to a computer via a USB cable or Bluetooth technology. The main reason for connecting to a computer is to synchronise e-mails and calendar entries, but you can also transfer files from your computer to your mobile phone.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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