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Mobile Terminology

Here are a few definitions of some mobile terms that you may hear a lot of when you start modifying your phone in order to customize your software.

Bootloader

This can be compared to the BIOS on a PC. It is low-level software telling the phone what and where to find what it needs to operate. Bootloaders can be upgraded and downgraded. There is no real reason to upgrade one, so don’t be tempted to.

Flash

This is the most common thing you modify on the phone. The Flash is essentially the operating system of the phone. When you flash your phone, it will adjust the various features of your phone. You will not lose any of your media or your specific settings when you flash. Unlike the flex, carrier-specific, a flash can be used on almost any carrier’s phone. Reflash files are flash files. They are called this because you use them to reflash a phone after installing a monster pack on it, but now you want the most recent Flash.

Flex

These are the files that contain the cell phone service provider’s branding on the phone. Things like your start-up animation with the carrier logos and sounds come from this. It also includes the specific menus and labels for programs they use like T-Zones or Media Mall. They also include all the programming needed to connect you to their internet service and text messaging on their network. The most important thing to remember is that if you have a Cingular phone, don’t install a T-Mobile flex. Your phone will essentially function, but any of the network connectivity for the Cingular network will be lost, and you’ll need to reprogram the connection data specific to your carrier or just flex again.

Monster Pack

Includes the Flash and the flex and a language pack for a specific language all in one file. It installs everything in one step. They come in many varieties; some are unbranded for Motorola, some are Cingular, O2, and Rogers, and can come with various features already enabled. Read the file’s description to know what it does before installing it.

PDS

A 64kb section in memory can’t be accessed via USB unless you have bootloader “07.D0″ installed. It holds critical information like your IMEI, ESN, and subsidy locking information. The PDS is the most sensitive part of the ROM. If it becomes corrupted (downgrading, misuse of Flash, etc.), you want to use a Smart-Clip, follow the test point procedures, or get a copy of the demo version of Motorola Repair Studio to fix it. Otherwise, your phone will be dead.

Seem

The phone has numerous seems programmed into the operating system of the phone. These seem to control every aspect of how the phone behaves, such as SMS being turned on or off by default, enabling the video camera and its various settings like zoom control and brightness of the image, raising the volume level on the multiple speakers of the phone, allowing ENS, etc. You change one feature at a time when you edit seems in a hex editing program. While the Flash is all the programming on the phone, it appears to edit the individual programs, if you will, in that Flash, one feature at a time.

Unlock

A locked phone will only work on that service provider’s network until it has been unlocked. There are a few ways of unlocking a phone, and some of them can be done for free.

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