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What is a Ringtone?

Whats in a Ringtone?

Ringtones are the most accessorized, inexpensive and popular personalization that you can do to your phone. They come in different types and here, we explain each one of them.

Monophonic: These are a series of single tones strung together like a stream of text to produce a melody. Monophonic tones aren’t very large (about 256 bytes), so they can be sent to your handset via a text message (SMS). If your phone supports one-way SMS and has spare memory, you can probably download some tones. But if your phone doesn’t meet these criteria yet has a composer, you can make your own monophonic ring tones by entering a string of numbers/text to create a melody. If you purchased your phone a couple of years ago, this is probably the kind of tone your mobile supports.

Polyphonic: By definition, polyphonic sounds use multiple tones instead of just a string of single tones to make a melody (synthesized audio). These types of tones are typically MIDI files that range in size from 8K to 15K and need to be downloaded to your phone from a WAP site or sent via MMS. If your phone supports polyphonic tones, you can add as many tones as will fit in your mobile’s free memory. Depending on your model, this space can be shared between games, tones, and applications. Some mobiles also have a predefined number of ring-tone slots available for downloads. Many newer phones available in the past year have this type of tone.

Digitized audio: This is the next wave of tones that will be available; it uses the same technology as MP3 and WAV files. It provides much higher-quality audio, and the benefit is that you are not merely trying to mimic the tones of a melody. Instead, you can actually have a snippet of the song be the ring tone. If you don’t want to use a song, you can also use a recorded voice (for example, a friend saying, “Answer the phone”) instead of a ring. These files, however, tend to be large (about 5K per second or 75K per tone), but you have more control over the degree of audio quality. Besides creating tones, you can also download them from a WAP site or receive them via MMS. This technology is already available on some PDA/phone hybrids, which supports MP3 or WAV files and has a decent amount of free memory.

Now that you know what tones are and how you get them, you may want to know which types your phone supports. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell from your actual handset. We’ve made it simple–just click the link below to see if your phone is on the list.

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