Android Terms and Acronyms

If you search for help on android especially technical help you will come across lots of acronyms and strange terms that make it difficult to understand what you are reading.

These are a collection of terms and acronyms that I have come across while trying to resolve android issues and gain a better understanding of android.

  • Airplane Mode -This disables radio transmissions from your device and allows the device to be used on aeroplanes (when in this mode). Mobile,Wi-Fi ,Bluetooth and GPS will be disabled in this mode but you can normally enable Wi-Fi and bluetooth. See this article
  • AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display technology used in smartwatches, mobile devices, laptops, and televisions.- Wiki
  • Android Wear – Is a version of the Android OS designed for smart watches. –Wiki
  •  apk Files-  APK files are the android equivalent of .exe files that you find on PCs. On a PC clicking on a .exe file with usually start an install process and on android clicking on a .apk file will start an install process.
  • App Launcher -An App Launcher is User Interface that replaces the Home screen. See Home screens.
  • ART– Android Run Time is a replacement to the Dalvik virtual machine. It was introduced in ANdroid 4.4 and completely replaces Dalvik in Android v5.0. Apps are not affected but should run quicker. See wiki for more details
  • Background Process -A background process is a process that is running and doesn’t require user input and doesn’t block other processes. You will find many background processes running on a tablet/phone
  • Cache – Common term in networking and data access. It refers to temporary storage of data. The idea is to store static data locally so that it doesn’t need to be downloaded each time that it is requested.
  • Dalvik – Dalvik is the virtual machine that runs your Apps. Android Apps are written mainly in Java which require the use of a Java virtual machine to run.
  • Gorilla Glass– A scratch resistant glass made by corning- Wiki
  • GPS– Global positioning system. This is a sensor built into most phones and some tablets that lets you find your location. Needed if you want to use your tablet/phone as a sat Nav. Also used in geotagging photos.
  •  GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)- Mobile/cell phone standard used in most countries. There are several versions 1G (first Generation) and 2G were used for phone calls only. Newer networks use 3G (third generation) and 4G which can be used for carrying data. See Wiki
  • Hard Reset– This wipes all personal information from the device and restores it to the factory settings. On Nexus 7 Open the Settings menus go to Personal and choose backup and reset then choose Factory Data reset.
  • External Storage– Storage that you add to your device usually using an SDcard.
  • Internal Storage– Storage that is part of your device and cannot be removed. It is is roughly equivalent to the C drive on your PC.
  • IPS – Screen technology that is used on high end displays. IPS gives better quality image than non- IPS. See this description for more details.
  • Multi- touch -refers to the ability of a track pad or touchscreen to recognize the presence of more than one point of contact with the surface.  Used in operations like pinch to zoom, See Wiki
  • Multitasking – Multitasking is the ability to run more than one program at the same time. For example you can check email while playing a game.
  • Micro USB – Standard USB connector used on smart phones,cameras and tablets.
  • MTP ( Media Transfer Protocol) – Protocol Developed by Microsoft, and used to transfer tiles over USB.
  • SD or microSD card): A small plastic “card” that expands the available storage memory on your tablet/phone. Android calls this external storage and is used to store your files,pictures etc.
  • SDcard Class -SDcards also have a class rating 2,4,6,10 which indicates their writing speed. Class 10 cards are the  fastest which is why you will notice a considerable difference in price for 2 cards with the same capacity.See this SD association page for more detail.
  • SDK: Stands for Software Development Kit. The  Android SDK is provided by Google and provides tools to create applications that run on Android devices.
  • Soft reset: Used if your device hangs or refuses to power down. On phones you can simply remove the batteries. On Nxus 7 tablets hold the Power  button for about 8 seconds ( see hard reset.)
  • Sideloading – installing an app on your  device from a source other than an official app store. See installing Amazon App store on Android for an example
  • RUU  ( ROM Update Utility) – It is a windows program that upgrades the ROM on HTC mobile phones . Note: I’m not sure that other phone manufacturers use it or if it is called something different.
  • RootingAndroid rooting is the process of allowing users  to attain privileged access -known as “root access”. Most devices aren’t rooted as it protects the device against user errors. You should not Root a device unless you are very technically competent.
  • OTA stands for Over-the-air programming and is a way of distributing new software updates to devices like tablets and mobile phones. Wiki has more details.
  • Widget – A small program that runs in the background shows results on a home screen.
  • Wi-Fi Tethering – A technique used to share a Wi-Fi connection on a mobile phone or 3g/4g equipped tablet. See wiki for more details.
  • Wi_Fi Hotspot – A location were you can connect to a Wi-Fi network. See setting up Wi-fi on Android
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