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    PHONE PHONE Document Transcript

    • mobilePHONE By Alan Kraemer Today’s mobile phones are much more than just a communication device…
    • HOW DOES THIS PHONE SOUND? “How does this phone sound?”, the The phones we have today OK, so now that we are over that, what opening line of many a phone call go way beyond Captain Kirk’s should you consider when choosing from my brother over the years. When communicator from Star your next mobile companion? First I heard that, I knew he had some Trek™, and that was 200 you need to decide whether you new whizz-bang “cordless”, and later, years in the future! are looking for a personal phone mobile phone that he just had to check or a business phone. For a business out as soon as possible. The other day So how do you decide which of that phone, for example, you may really though I got an SMS from him that vast array of mobile-do-everything- want “Active Sync” to keep everything read “How does this iPhone sound?”, devices available is right for you? on your phone in lockstep with your hmmm, things have changed. Well…you could just buy an iPhone. company’s Exchange Server, but for a Apparently, with 17% market share personal phone, simple POP3 email, There was a time when you just talked the standard protocol for directly on a telephone to someone at a remote (in Smartphones) and growing, many people are doing just that. They are accessing email from a server rather location. It could be next door or than syncing, may be just fine. Then halfway around the world, but WOW cool, the touch interface is really slick, they store a reasonable amount of you need to think about what’s that was amazing! Also the phone was important to you and your lifestyle. wired to the wall, stationary, while the music, and now they sync directly with Microsoft Exchange Server so you can Do you care about music playback, do TV was wireless. Now the opposite is you want/need to surf the web, do you true, the TV is wired, either to cable or always be up to date on your email, contacts and calendar. On the other travel a lot internationally? This guide a satellite dish, while the phone has will cover some of the key selection sprung free and become mobile. hand, you can’t replace the battery, there is no voice or “one button” criteria so you can determine how they Not only that, but those little devices that dialing so making a call is a ritual, they apply to your situation. we carry around in our pockets are now can’t send or receive MMS (Multimedia entertainment centers (music players, Messaging Service), the camera is only TVs, game players, web surfers, etc.), 2 mega-pixel (and can’t record video) communications hubs (email, text, MMS, and there have been many reports of the web), general purpose computers poor call quality and slow response from (calculators, organizers, spreadsheets, AT&T’s 3G network. But man is it cool, I etc.), and, oh yes, mobile phones. think I want one…be right back. ACRONYM DECODER RING The mobile phone industry is rife with acronyms. Here is a key to some of the most common. CDMA Code Division Multiple Access EDGE Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution EV-DO Evolution Data Optimized GPRS General Packet Radio Service GSM Global System for Mobile HSPDA High Speed Downlink Packet Access MMS Multi-media Messaging Service SMS Small Message Service TDMA Time Division Multiple Access UMTS Universal Mobile Telephone Service WCDMA Wideband CDMA 1
    • FUNCTIONALITY Carrier/Air Protocol bands used in the Americas do not speakers that are near the phones. coincide with those used in Europe There really is no good solution to This choice relates to where you will and the rest of the world. While “Tri- this problem, so if you need a GSM use the phone. Band” phones do have one overlapping phone for international use, you will For international use, band between the Americas and the have to put up with it. However, the there is really only one rest of the world, it is possible that the problem should be reduced once the choice: GSM. band that overlaps is not in use in a transition to full 3G (see next topic) particular region. is complete since 3G uses WCDMA Virtually every country in the world, transmissions, which, as explained except Korea and Japan, has GSM For reference, the GSM bands in the below, operate continuously and based networks. Newer GSM phones Americas are 850 MHz and 1900Mhz, distribute energy in a way that also support HSDPA/UMTS networks while the world bands are 900Mhz and minimizes interference. which do exist in Korea and Japan, 1800Mhz. This is not because of some however you have to be very careful spirit of American individuality; it is The other air protocol in use in the to ensure that the phone supports the simply because the 900 and 1800 MHz US is CDMA . CDMA is actually a more radio bands used in those countries, bands had previously been allocated. advanced system than GSM and it which requires “Tri Band” HSDPA In the US, the GSM service providers does not cause the “buzz” mentioned support. If not, you may find yourself or carriers are AT&T and T-Mobile. above. Verizon and Sprint provide landing at Japan’s Narita Airport with CDMA service in the US, but their GSM has one major dis- phones will not work internationally, a useless phone (like I did once). Ask advantage, however. That’s your carrier specifically about support unless you select one of the few the unpleasant “GSM Buzz”. models that support both CDMA and for Korea and Japan if you plan on spending any time there. GSM phones switch their transmitters GSM. Verizon currently offers one on and off at 214Hz which causes very from Motorola and two from RIM Even if you plan to roam only on GSM high energy pulses. These pulses can (Blackberry). As of this writing, Sprint networks, you must ensure that the induce noise into audio systems or does not offer a global phone. phone is “Quad Band” because the 2
    • FUNCTIONALITY continued Data Transmission This is simple: if you are buying a GSM phone, don’t bother with one that does not support 3G/UMTS and, if you are buying a CDMA phone, forget it if it does not support EV-DO. Anything else is just not fast enough, unless you have a lot of time on your hands. On the GSM side, you may want to verify that the phone also supports HSDPA. That will let you go WAY fast as the data networks are built out in Europe and the US. Even on a 3G GSM phone, however, Texting you may sometimes see a “G” or “E” designator rather than “3G”. This indicates that the phone has fallen back to the Among some age groups and in many parts of the world, earlier GPRS or EDGE data protocols. Both of these are people almost never talk on their phones and, instead, slower, but then again nothing is perfect. prefer to “text”. SMS or Short Message Service evolved as a way for carriers to get revenue for the spare time on their It is pointless to talk about absolute data rates, since digital networks and has recently become hugely popular. all kinds of numbers are bandied about by the handset providers and carriers, and transmission rate is really If you plan (or your kids plan) to do a lot of texting, make dependent upon the instantaneous signal quality in your sure you get a flat rate data plan. area. So, even though UMTS and EV-DO are both capable of Many parents have been shocked by high transmission speeds, your mileage may vary. the phone bill when their kids start Another aspect of data transmission is cost. sending and receiving more text per Make sure you are very clear on the terms of month than is contained in Webster’s your carrier’s data plans. Unabridged Dictionary! The best bet is always a flat rate package. You will always Of course, the other key consideration is the keyboard. use more data than you expect, especially if you are Some people (read kids) can text like a banshee on a syncing over the air with something like Active Sync, and standard telephone keypad. For the rest of us (read not you don’t want to get a big (sometimes very big) surprise kids) a QWERTY keyboard is a very good idea. Either way, in your bill. Also, be careful about international roaming you will develop very fast thumbs. as, generally, most flat rate plans do not cover roaming in The next step up from SMS is MMS or Multimedia Messaging other countries and the costs can mount up very quickly. Service. This is basically SMS with pictures or video and is Recently, however, some carriers have added international supported by most phones these days. As mentioned before, data “add-ons” for domestic flat rate plans. a notable exception is the iPhone 3G, which does not support MMS. MMS is not too useful if the phone doesn’t have a camera, for obvious reasons. 3
    • OPERATING SYSTEMS Back in the days of mainframe computers, one of the most popular, the IBM 360, took an entire room, ran at 16.7Mhz (model 91) and typically had about 7.2 Mbytes of storage on washing machine size disc drives. The 2 year old, semi-outdated smartphone sitting on my desk as I write this has a processor running at 240Mhz, more than 100Mbytes of internal memory and 2Gbytes of removable storage on a MicroSD card the size of my fingernail. The whole thing, of course, fits in my pocket or the palm of my hand. Oh and it’s a bit less expensive than the old 360. These things are really computers with a telephone function and pretty powerful ones at that! As such, they all need operating systems but, unlike PCs with two major operating systems to contend with, there are at least six (with variants used on mobile phones). Each, as you would expect, has advantages and disadvantages which will briefly be discussed below. Embedded OS The most basic phones run on embedded operating systems. These are proprietary systems either developed by the handset manufacturer or based on a common third party core system like Nucleus from Mentor Graphics. While these phones may provide functions like music playback and rudimentary web browsing, they are the least flexible and are pretty much designed mainly to be just telephones (what a concept). If you are mainly interested in making phone calls, phones with embedded operating These things are really systems can be cheap, small, power computers with a telephone efficient and reliable. The best selling function and pretty powerful Motorola RAZR is a classic example of ones at that! this type of phone. Windows Mobile How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a light bulb? The answer? None, they just change the standard to darkness! Windows® Mobile, however, is not darkness. It is really quite a good operating system for smartphones. Its advantages include familiarity, since it resembles Windows enough that anyone that uses a Windows based PC will feel at home, and, its ability to seamlessly 4
    • OPERATING SYSTEMS continued integrate with other Windows parallel with the acquisition, the systems via USB, Bluetooth, or Symbian Foundation was created over the air can prove to be a major to continue the propagation of the advantage. If you are selecting a Symbian OS among multiple handset business phone, Windows Mobile will makers. The members of the Symbian keep your email, contacts, calendar Foundation are handset makers, Nokia, and tasks in sync either with a direct LG Electronics Inc., Sony Ericsson, connection to your PC or over the Motorola and Samsung, and operators air. The synchronization becomes and wireless chipmakers AT&T, NTT even easier if your business is running DoCoMo, Texas Instruments, Vodafone Exchange Server. Group and STMicroelectronics NV. A few years ago, Symbian Windows Mobile comes in either touch A few years ago, Symbian licensed licensed ActiveSync screen or non-touch screen versions, ActiveSync from Microsoft so any from Microsoft so any supports multimedia playback via the Symbian based phone can synchronize Symbian based phone can Windows Media Player and can run the with Microsoft Exchange Server. Like synchronize with Microsoft mobile versions of Word, Excel and Windows Mobile, the Symbian OS is Exchange Server. Power Point. available in either a touch screen or non-touch screen version. Symbian Symbian supports multimedia playback through The Symbian operating system was third party applications like Packet originally formed as a partnership Video. Microsoft Office document between mobile handset companies editing is available on Symbian to develop a smartphone OS. As with through third party applications like many partnerships, however, there those available from DataViz. was a dominant partner and that The Symbian OS is used widely in partner, Nokia, has recently acquired Europe and other parts of the world, 100% ownership of Symbian. In but is not as popular in the US market. 5
    • OPERATING SYSTEMS continued Linux Blackberry iPhone Linux is a bit complicated since it The Blackberry OS is proprietary to When I started working on this guide, is an open platform and there are RIM (Research in Motion) who basically the iPhone 3G was about a 400 pound many different version provided by popularized the “business phone”. As gorilla. Now it is about an 800 pound companies and organizations such everyone knows, it came to be called Gorilla and growing, and I haven’t as MonteVista, Access Linux Platform “Crackberry” because the OS was so been working on this that long! At (ALP) and LiMo. In addition, Android, good that people became addicted this point, the iPhone 3G and its the new Google open mobile platform to it. The Blackberry OS is the only descendants appear to be poised to is based on the Linux kernel. smartphone OS that is proprietary to become the dominant smartphone a single handset vendor and you can’t platform on the planet earth. At the moment, Linux based phones find it on any other manufacturer’s are a bit like embedded phones handsets. As a side note, while the Apple licensed ActiveSync from in that their features may vary Blackberry OS is superb, RIM phones do Microsoft so the iPhone can sync significantly based on the handset not enjoy the same stellar reputation email, contacts, and calendars with manufacturers design. They are, for voice quality. Exchange Server, but currently cannot however, smartphones, but, currently, sync tasks. Office document editing ActiveSync is not supported on the Natively, Blackberry phones is available from a number of third Linux platform so, if you need to synchronize to BES (Blackberry parties. Multimedia playback goes sync to an Exchange Server or to a Enterprise Server) and not directly to without saying since the iPhone PC (or Mac), a Linux based phone Microsoft Exchange Server. However, is essentially an iPod® Touch with may not be the best choice. third party applications are now phone capabilities. available that make this possible. Android Unfortunately many of these have By opening the iPhone These days, anything that Google monthly charges associated with them. platform to application does is important. Therefore, Android developers Apple may well is important and this open platform Blackberry based phones have good have created the “Windows” being propagated by Google is starting multimedia support courtesy of Roxio of the mobile phone world. (people who know something about to see adoption by major handset media). All standard music and video In November 2008, the iPhone apps makers. Much remains to be seen formats are supported. store’s product offering passed the however, so try out an Android based 10,000 point with a few hundred phone at this point only if you are a being added each week. What can’t tech freak and an early adopter. you do with an iPhone (I for one can’t seem to type on it)? 6
    • ENTERTAINMENT FEATURES Virtually every phone these days, except the most basic, has multimedia playback capability and almost all offer some gaming and web browsing capabilities. There are some things to consider, however, if you plan to use your mobile device for entertainment. Screen Size and Type Headphones Obviously, the bigger and brighter the better. If you are going In my humble opinion, the first thing you should check is to watch video or surf the web, you need to be able to see the headphone jack. The only acceptable configuration what you are looking at and not just under low ambient light is the standard 3.5mm mini jack. Anything else is beyond conditions. It can be a real struggle to see some screens even inconvenient, either tying you to the headphones that came in direct sunlight. If you can, take your prospective phone with the phone (almost universally bad) or making you use outside and see what you can or can’t see. easy-to-lose adaptors to attach standard headphones. The iPhone 3G definitely got it right! Screen size is matter of preference. Some people would rather have a smaller screen and a physical, traditionally Next, check what kind of signal processing is available layed out keyboard. Others prefer the largest screen possible for headphone listening. Processes like WOW HD™ or CS and a soft keyboard (like the one iPhone provides). Slider Headphone™ from SRS Labs can significantly enhance type phones can offer both a large screen and a keyboard, the listening experience from a portable device. WOW but they can be a bit bulky. HD takes the sound out of your head and significantly improves the perception of bass, while CS Headphone Regarding web surfing, many sites have now developed can render an entire surround sound experience through mobile versions that work very well on small screens. headphones including earbuds. This is great for watching Examples are American Airlines, American Express, Bank of videos, movies and sports. America, CNN, and many more, so if you are going to use the mobile web mainly for information and transactions, a Voice smaller screen may be just fine. Apparently, some people actually still talk on their mobile Sound phones. When they do, they are frequently in noisy or very noise environments and even the most powerful earpiece/ The quality of the “sound” of a phone speaker in a phone can’t overcome the noise. Once again, is critical for enjoyment of video, signal processing comes to the rescue. SRS TruVoice™ music and gaming. processes the voice to optimize intelligibility given the A few considerations are outlined below. available power in the phone and it automatically adjusts to ambient noise level, so there is always just the right Speakers amount of processing applied. If you plan to use the built-in speaker or speakers, make sure to listen to the quality and check to see where the speaker is positioned. A speaker positioned on the back of the phone can make it impossible to hear in even slightly noisy situations. If the phone has two speakers, make sure they are worth it by listening for stereo separation. Audio signal processing like SRS® 3D, TruBass®, TruVoice™ and TruMedia™ from SRS Labs can significantly improve the native performance of the tiny speakers in mobile devices. Look for these features when you make your purchase. Without Processing With SRS TruMedia Processing 7
    • ENTERTAINMENT FEATURES continued Media Acquisition There are four ways to get media into a phone: 1) SIDE LOAD 2) DOWNLOAD 3) STREAMING 4) DIRECT BROADCAST Side loading uses a PC or other internet device to download the media which is then transferred to the mobile phone. iTunes is a good example of this. Downloading brings the media directly into the phone either via the Systems Committee) is now involved cellular network or WiFi. Both side and and a single public standard should down loading require local storage to emerge based on this work. hold the media. Streaming uses the cellular network or WiFi to transfer One last way to get media information in real time so, only a into a phone is to create it small buffer is needed in the phone. yourself. Finally, direct broadcast actually transmits video information to the Most phones have cameras these days phone over the air in digital format. and the great thing about having a Essentially, this is mobile digital TV. camera on a phone is that it is always This capability is just now being built with you. Cameras in phones range out and enabled in the United States, from simply awful to pretty good, but but it already exists and is hugely they are getting better and better popular in Korea and Japan. with some of the best rivaling stand alone digital cameras. Look for zoom In the US, mobile digital broadcast is capability and low light sensitivity. based on a proprietary standard from Mega pixels are kind of a marketing Qualcomm called MediaFlo. However, thing, but try to get a camera with at the ATSC (Advanced Television least two for decent pictures. 8
    • CONNECTIVITY Aside from the basic connection to the cellular network, today’s mobile phones can have many other ways to communicate with the outside world. The most popular are discussed below. Bluetooth GPS WiFi Almost all current phones have What’s cooler than having your Your phone can do everything with Bluetooth® capability. This is the phone communicate with satellites? WiFi that your PC can such as surfing wireless connection protocol that We have come a long way from the web, downloading data and media, enables people to walk around with Sputnik. GPS or Global Positioning emailing and more. those headsets that make them look System lets your phone know, with like the Borg from Star Trek and it great accuracy, where it is. With For data transfer, WiFi is also enables wireless hands free applications like Google Maps, still generally faster than devices in cars. precise turn-by-turn direction can even the fastest cellular be supported. GPS can also enable data networks. Many people don’t realize, so called “location based services”. In addition to these traditional however, that Bluetooth also Because your phone knows its functions, some carriers are now even comes in a stereo version location, it can provide information offering services that allow you to for music listening that can on services available in the local seamlessly transfer to a VoIP (Voice un-tether you from those area. It can also automatically inform Over IP) call when a WiFi hotspot is headphone cords. people of your exact location in an available. This is great for those who (and avoid the problem on non-standard emergency. have issues with cellular coverage in headphone jacks mentioned above). their homes or offices. USB 2.0 Bluetooth audio transmission is USB 2.0 enables a high speed, not perfect so, again, audio signal hardwired connection to and from processing like WOW HD, CS Headphone external device like a PC, enabling and TruVoice from SRS Labs can synchronization and data transfer. A significantly improve your experience USB 2.0 connection is also the fastest with Bluetooth audio. and best way to transfer all those Bluetooth in a phone can also be pictures you took with your phone’s used to beam data, such as contact camera to another device short of information, and pictures from device removing the storage card. to device, and used to synchronize and transfer data and media from PCs. 9
    • BACKUP We store a lot of critical data in mobile devices these days. What happens if the phone is lost, stolen or destroyed? Just the thought of losing all those contacts is horrifying. Upgrading to a new phone can also be a challenge; your contacts need to go with you. Fortunately things are getting better these days. If you choose a phone that can synchronize with a server, all of your information resides on that server and can be instantly restored to a new phone if the old one accidently drops in the toilet, is lost or stolen or if you are just upgrading. The great thing is that ActiveSync has become sort of a defacto standard. So, even if you switch from a Windows Mobile phone to an iPhone, for example, your information will transfer. If you don’t have a server to sync to, ActiveSync can still sync and backup your data on a PC with either a hardwired or internet connection. For those that don’t sync their phones, most carriers now offer an inexpensive service that will backup your contacts on their system daily. These contact databases can easily be transferred to other phones as required. DO YOU KNOW… …What do you do if your phone drops in water? Do not panic! And, do not attempt to turn it on as turning it on will almost certainly short circuit everything inside. Instead, immediately open the battery door and take out the battery (sorry, iPhone: you have no battery door!) and place the phone and the battery in a warm, dry place, preferably under the sun, for 48-hours. Then, reinsert the battery, close the door, and turn it on. 9 out of 10 times, the phone will be working just fine. 10
    • LOCKED VS UNLOCKED In the US, service providers If you really want flexibility and don’t (carriers) subsidize phones. want to sign up for a contract, then So, you can imagine that you can get an “unlocked” phone for they would not be too a lot more money (no subsidy). The thrilled if you bought a shiny downside of this, however, is that you new handset that they paid will have to configure all the data for and then waltzed off to and voice settings yourself, which is another provider. not for the faint hearted. Still you own the phone and you can do with To prevent this, the phones are it as you please. Some carriers offer “locked” to the carrier that you bought unlocked phones at higher prices, them from. Assuming you are happy so one way to go would be to buy with the carrier and are willing to sign the unlocked handset from your up to a contract (usually two years), primary carrier. In that case, at least there is no problem with a locked everything would be set correctly for phone, the initial settings are all initial use and you will not need to configured correctly for both voice and spend hours talking to semi-trained data and you can still roam on other tech support personnel of the phone carriers overseas. For most people, this maker or the carrier (trust me, that is the best and easiest choice. could prove frustrating very quickly). UNIDENTICAL TWINS: One of these phones is locked, the other is unlocked. Unlocked phones may also be Can you tell the difference? prone to glitches when upgrading. As phone makers provide upgrades to their phones, they are intended to update specific phones for specific carriers. As a result, if an unlocked phone is upgraded running on a carrier that is not ready for the upgrade or does not allow the upgrade, the phone may simply stop working. In fact, the industry has a term for the above: Bricking (as in the phone turning into a brick!) 11
    • WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? The phones we have today would have • With fold up or virtual Bluetooth been unimaginable only a few years keyboards, it will become even more ago. What’s next? A few thoughts: practical to email, text, and write documents on a phone. • Ultra Wide Band (UWB) will let us connect and download content and • Going further, it will become possible data at extremely high speeds over to hook the phone up to a TV or short range wireless connections. external display and watch high quality content on a big screen. • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) When it arrives, this connection will will enable us to make purchases with probably be wireless. our phones by simply holding them near a transceiver. In fact, with the growth in storage Ultimately, the phone may • Phone cameras will get better and capacity on phones, you may very replace both what we think better eventually replacing standalone soon be able to store most of your of today as the PC in most digital cameras and phones will media on them. And, one day, you applications and also become become the essential media storage may be able to walk into a room and the primary media playback and playback platforms. the phone will automatically and device…and we haven’t even wirelessly connect to any rendering started yet. • New connectivity methods will device, like a flat panel TV or audio permit video beaming and projectors system, that exist there in the room. may even be built-in providing the Then your phone becomes the remote capability to beam a PowerPoint control and streams the stored presentation directly to a screen (3M content in it directly to any of the already has a prototype) from a phone. playback devices in the vicinity. Likewise, when you take the same phone into your car, it will find the screens and audio capabilities there and connect to them for playback. 12
    • CLOSING THE CONNECTION In the end, choosing a mobile phone is a very personal decision. It must fit your personality, your taste, and your lifestyle. After all, we spend more time with these devices than just about anyone or anything else. I am not sure how we ever got along without them. They are also very complex and offer a huge range of features. One guide can’t possibly cover all the variables that go into a decision, but hopefully the information here will be helpful. Alan D. Kraemer has served as Chief Technology Officer of SRS Labs since January 2005 (and holds multiple US patents as well as numerous foreign patents related to audio processing). During his tenure at SRS Labs, he has also served as Executive Vice President, Technology and Business Development, Vice President of Engineering and Director of Engineering. Prior to joining SRS Labs in 1994, Mr. Kraemer served in a variety of executive and technology capacities with industry leaders such as Sierra Digital Productions, De LaRue Printrak, AST Research and Northrop Electronics. He currently holds 13 patents in the fields of audio technology and computer architecture. SRS Labs, Inc. 2909 Daimler Street Santa Ana, California 92705 © 2009 SRS Labs, Inc. All rights reserved. 800-243-2733 SRS, CS Headphone, TruBass, TruVoice, TruMedia, WOW HD, VIP+ and the SRS logo are trademarks of SRS Labs, Inc. www.srslabs.com All over brand names mentioned are trademarks of their respective holders. 13