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[GUIDE] Android Glossary - Ideal for New Users

Guest StevenHarperUK

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Guest StevenHarperUK

Android Glossary

Here is my humble Glossary;

It really only fully applies to the ZTE Blade

If you are truly new then I suggest you start with;


Please feel free to reply with suggestions/corrections etc...



A2SD is a way of mounting your data partition completely on your SD CARD.

This requires the ROM you have to support it.

Each ROM will support EXT2 or EXT3.

It is a complicated way of having lots of space for your APPS, however a good understanding of what you are doing is needed.

A good tool to do this in windows is

All 2.2 ROMS have APP 2 SD - this is very different, apps that allow it can be moved to your FAT32 Partition of your SDcard this is much simpler.


Adb is a set of tools supplied by google.

There are cutdown packages that are much smaller distributions available (fastboot.zip includes it).

Adb allows you to push and pull files onto your device, enabling a certain amount of tinkering to go on.




ADHOC (Networking)

Adhoc networks are the other kind of wireless networks.

The main type being called Infrastructure networks (these are the normal kind that almost a routers give out)

Android cannot see or connect to ADHOC networks.

The Barnacle APP (enables Wifi tethering on Android 2.1) emits a ADHOC network.


The phone, as delivered by Courier is barred from OrangeUK's own network until "activated"

If you buy your phone from an Orange shop they are activated (unbarred from the Orange network) and handed to the purchaser.

Until you have done this Orange SIM cards will not work with the phone, the Orange masts will block the devices IMEI from making calls etc.


Highly experimental, not for the inexperienced, certainly not advised for daily use.

Significant functions are probably not yet working.


Android Open Source Project.

Some times used on the forum to refer to a generic version of the Android system, before phone manufacturers / carriers / others have made modifications and provided alternative / extra software.


An APK is a program that can be installed to your phone.

The Market delivers APK's to your device.

You can install other APK's from the internet - however use caution when doing so.


Access Point Name - these are the setting to use 2g/3g/3g+(h) on your network.

They are provided by your network - however a large list is maintained on this forum.



APP 2 SD is a built in feature of 2.2 ROMS.

In Settings | Applications | Manage Applications, you can select any application and move it to your SD Card (if its supported)

This will move some of the app to the SD Card, other essential bit may remain on your data partition.

Not all APPs can be moved, it has to be allowed by the developer.

The App (Move2SD; linked below) allows you to move ANY app to the SD card - this is ok for anything that is not a WIDGET or a LIVE WALLPAPER.

But you should test the apps after moving them (you can easily move them back).


Move2SD Requires Root (Superuser - see above).


The App Drawer is the list of all the installed APPs on your device.

It is usually the central button at the bottom of your screen.

Widgets may not show up in the APP Drawer.


There are now 2 Generations of the ZTE-BLADE device.

Each have a different style memory layout.

[GEN1] BLADES use the baseband of
and can use all of the ROMS made

[GEN2] BLADES use the baseband of

Trying to install a GEN1 ROM onto a GEN2 device will brick it.

GEN1 devices can be recovered with a TPT - we don't have a TPT for a GEN2 device (yet)

How to find out what BLADE you have (GEN1 or GEN2)

You need tom install this app
Ask Mr Pigfish



When you run the APP the first line will be

Mr.Pigfish says you have a Gen1 model


Users that have flashed a BOOT/RECOVERY rom that is OLED only see a BLUE Tint on their screen.

They also report that the screen cannot be woken after the device sleeps (powered off).

Fixing this involves installing a TFT compatible BOOT/RECOVERY.



Beyond a prototype, but still with the likelihood of significant bugs and quirks.

For people willing to act as "beta-testers" and help discover, identify and isolate those bugs, so that they can be fixed.

Beta-testers are constructive critics.

They certainly shouldn't expect absolutely everything to work properly.

Accurate problem descriptions are helpful, but complaints would just demonstrate that you don't understand your role as a Beta-tester.


A method of wirelessly connecting your phone to another device.

You can get wireless headsets, headphones, keyboards and other devices.

You can also connect to a computer with bluetooth and move files (although the built in functionality is poor - see FAQ thread for a list of known good apps)

bluetooth devices must be paired together to communicate with each other.

The default passcode for bluetooth devices is usually 0000 but can be 1111 or 1234


Boot is the partition of the phone that is executed when the phone is first turned on.

It runs up a kernel (linux) and then the android system is booted.


The build.prop file is put together by the ROM developer and is part of the the system image.

It affect many things such as hardware acceleration, vm size, useragent.

It can be altered using ADB on the device or changed in the ROM zip before you flash it.

The files lives in /system/build.prop


CACHE is the partition of the phone that is used to store temporary data for running programs.

Nothing vital should ever be found there.

The Cache partition is usually WIPED when installing a new ROM


Clockwork (or Clockwork recovery mod) is a tool that is usually flashed to the recovery part of the device.

Clockwork allows you to WIPE the partitions and also Install update.zip files.

Update.zip files usually comatin ROMS or THEMES.

You can do many other things in Clockwork - including Mount your SDCard over USB.


The Dalvik cache is another temporary store for files on the device.

The files contained within the classes.dex compressed archives are extracted from each of the APK's (programs on your device).

The System then does not have to extract each ZIP to get to the code - this makes the system runs more quickly.

The Dalvik cache is located at /data/dalvik-cache.

Clearing this should be safe since the system will recreate it on demand.


The Dialler is the APP you see when you make a phone call.

ZTE have their own dialler that they include with their STOCK ROM.

Some ROM developers revert the DIALLER to the stock Android DIALLER.

This is not as simple task as it integrated with other APPS such as Contacts and Settings


These codes are entered into the dialler (like dialing a normal number).

They give debug information about the device.



Fastboot is a tool that runs on a PC, you use it to push new boot and recovery images to your device.

To put the phone in fastboot mode you hold down the VOULME UP button while turning the phone on, the android logo (little green man) stays on the screen.

You then plug the USB cable in and use fastboot on the PC.



Cheers Sebastian404


Flashing is the same as installing a ROM or FIRMWARE of your phone.

Basically your FLASHing the software onto the BOOT and SYSTEM partitions.




Hardware acceleration is enabled/disabled in the build.prop file in the ROMS system.

When hardware acceleration is enabled some of the instructions go to a dedicated graphics chip on the device, boosting performance.


A Hotspot is a wifi network.

Hotspots that have no security preventing you from joining them are know as Open Hotspots.

However some of these have session based security preventing you from using them until you have logged into a web based system.

Examples are McDonalds Wifi, BT Openzone.


The Hungarian update was a file given by T-Mobile Support to fix the 256MB ZTE Blades and make them into 512MB ZTE Blades.

It also has been reported to fix users with the BLUE TINT problem

This update uses a newly discovered method of updating your device.

It is much lower level and allows almost ANYTHING to be changed.

It is not currently tested on all hardware and caution should be used when using it.




The IMEI is a unique number for your device.

It is printed on a sticker that is on your phone (under the battery) - its also on the box your phone came in.

The IMEI can be used to calculate the Phone Unlock code.


The Kernel lives in the BOOT partition, the kernel is linux.

The job of the kernel is to provide access to all the hardware on the device

There are other layers between the kernel and the apps you run on the device.

Here is a diagram to show this


The Launcher is the main screen that you see when you start your phone.

It allows you to place and move shortcuts and have widgets.

There are many different Launchers a well known one is Launcher Pro (from the market).

You can choose your default launcher with the app Home Switcher (from the Market).



The lock screen is the screen you are presented with when you wake the phone up.

You can usually mute the phone from here.

If you enable security the lockscreen then you can have pattern or pin lockscreens.


In android 2.2 you get the option to move applications to the SD card - this means that they use less space up on your devices storage (data partition)

However the developer of each app has to allow you to do this.

Unless you install the Move2SD App (from the Market) this allows you to move ANY App to SD.

However don't move Live Wallpapers or Widgets they will not work on reboot.



MD5 is a number/character fingerprint of a file.

When you run an MD5SUM application, the program reads the file and runs some math against it.

The result is a unique number/letters that are the md5sum for that file.

When you download a file you can use the md5sum to guarantee that the file has not be damaged during downloading.

Md5 is built into OSX and Linux - you need a tool for windows.



Nandroid is a complete backup of your device.

The BOOT,RECOVERY, SYSTEM, USERDATA, CACHE, partitions all get backed up into a single backup that can be restored very easily.

Clockwork is used to make nandroid backups (the backup option in the 1st menu) It is also used to restore them.

Backups get placed onto the SD Card into a directory called clockwork.


Overclocking is changing the boot image so that parts are the phone are instructed to run faster than they normally would.

This has the chance of damaging your phones hardware and will obviously use (slightly) more power.


Before the phone boots, partitions are setup on the device.

The phone has a reasonable amount of storage and the system partition can be adjusted to allow more space for the data partition.

Effectively giving the user more space to install apps.

A side effect is that if the users chooses to switch to a ROM that needs a bigger system partition, then they will have to re-partiton their device.

The main partitions are :

BOOT - Where the linux kernel lives - is run when the phone is turned on

RECOVERY - Another linux kernel in here and a small tool to allow you to perform recovery tasks

SYSTEM - Where the android system is installed - usually read only when android is running

USERDATA - Where APPs are installed and where data about the apps are stored

CACHE - Temporary location for apps to use


Phones when sold are locked to the network provider they are sold by.

However if you put in a none compatible SIM you get to enter a phone unlock code (6 digits)

This code can be calculated by many tools available.

All that is needed is your IMEI.



RA_Recovery is a tool that is usually flashed to the recovery part of the device.

RA_Recovery is an alternative to Clockwork it allows you to WIPE the partitions and also Install update.zip files.

Update.zip files usually comatin ROMS or THEMES.

You can do many other things in RA_Recovery - including Mount your SDCard over USB and Use ADB Commands.



Recovery is booted by holding down the Volume Down button while turning the phone on.

This executes any installed tool that is in the Recovery partition.

The STOCK recovery tool just shows the ZTE text.

There are currently 2 different custom recovery images for the ZTE Blade.

These are Clockwork and RA_Recovery.

The RECOVERY MANAGER APP can install a RECOVERY image and also pass some commands to Clockwork - making using Clockwork even simpler.





The ZTE BLADE RECOVERY MANAGER is an android APP that requires ROOT (superuser)

It is written by Sebastian404 and its job is to Install Firmware (ROM) and also to install RECOVERY Tools.

You can also automate backups and recoveries.

The APP is still in early development, but is easily the simplest way to install a Custom ROM.



RIL is Radio Interface Layer and is the bit where the generic OS (like Android) meets the lower-level software for the specific telephone parts of the phone (and the vendor-specific, low-level software is referred to as the Baseband [Layer]).


A ROM is a new version of an OS for your device.

In this case its a new Version of Android.

The ROM is usually packaged in a zip file and always contains a set of files to be installed in the System.

It may contain a boot.img file - this gets installed in the boot part of the device.

Look in the link below for a up-to-date list of ROMS



Root refers to the superuser account on the phone.

Running things as root means giving them access to change and access parts of the phones files that would normally be un-acessable..

Root gets installed as /bin/su or /xbin/su

Usually there is an app called Superuser in your App Drawer.

Root can be installed separately using a special APK


RTL (Right To Left)

Some languages read from Right to Left

(opposite to English that reads Left to Right)

Some ROMS/Apps support these languages


Stage fright is a set of media extension supplied in Android 2.2, these are designed to improve the performance in games.


A stock ROM is an original copy of the ROM that came on a device.

Each County will have its own stock ROM, some may have multiple.

Stock ROMs usually contain a BOOT image and a SYSTEM image.



Superboot was a replacement boot image that also installed superuser on your ROM - it only supports OLED devices and is therefore now out of date.


The System partition of the device holds the ROM that you have installed.

There will be a selection of APPS already installed in the System partition.

These APPS are choosen by the ROM developer.


Task killers are applications that kill other programs that are running on your device.



Tethering is about using your Phones 3G connection on another device (such as a laptop or iPod).

In 2.1 the best tethering option is Barnacle (an app from the market).

However in 2.2 it is built into the main Andoid system.



Themes are sets of files that change the appearance of the Android system.

Most themes are installed in clockwork and replace important parts of the android system.

This means that you must check that the theme you have choosen is for the ROM you are using.

You should always do a clockwork backup (nandroid) before applying a theme.


This is a free/paid tool that you can buy from the market.

Some ROMS include it.

It is used to backup and restore apps and their data.

The backup files are placed on the SDCard in a directory called TitaniumBackup.



Total Phone Transfer - the name given to the type of update that the Hungarian update uses.

Some New ROMS are arriving that use this technique, these ROMS install the BOOT ,RECOVERY, SYSTEM and also may change the partition sizes on the device - all in a single step.


OLED/TFT refers to the screen technology in the ZTE BLADE.

Early devices were OLED, most devices are now TFT.

ROMS are either OLED/TFT or just OLED compatible.

BOOT images are either OLED/TFT or just OLED compatible.

RECOVERY images are either OLED/TFT or just OLED compatible.



USB is the Universal Serial Bus. It is the connector on the device you use to charge and mount as a drive on your PC.

Most modern phones have USB connectors on them - and it is now law to have this universal interface.


The useragent is the information given to each website by the browser.

Your phone sends its useragent in the request header, with each request for a page.

Some operator restrict the content by the useragent, the key part of the useragent is the ro.product.model= in the build.props file.



The Userdata partition of the device holds all your apps and data you have added to the ROM.

These are apps you have downloaded, and settings and information you have generated on the phone.

Some of your Apps may be on your SD Card and are therefore not in your USERDATA partition.

Usually when you swap to a different ROM you have WIPE your userdata partition, this can be done in Clockwork.


The VM Size is set by the ROM developer, it can be changed using VM SIZE - a tool from the market.

The VM is the JAVA Virtual Machine that the android system is running in.



Widgets are mini programs that take up 1 or more slots on your launcher pages.

They may use data and usually run a service in the background.

Widgets should be removed from taskkillers and not be installed on your SD Card (or they wont start on boot).

Widgets use more CPU and therefore more power - choose them wisely


Wifi refers to the wireless hardware in your device.

When you turn on wifi, the phone scans for nearby wifi networks and will auto join any that it knows about.

Wifi networks can either be open or require a password (see HOTSPOT).

Wifi is much better than using your 3G network as it incurs no data charges on your account with your operator.


A Wipe is a clearing of user data and apps.

This clears the data stores in the USERDATA partition and the CACHE partition.

Wipes are carried out in clockwork, the 2 options WIPE CACHE and FACTORY RESET are chosen.

Edited by Paul
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Guest Arr Too

Cool! I'd say add links where there's an obvious one or two.

How about sorting into normal dictionary order?

And maybe add 'Dialler Code' (also referred to as 'Engineering Mode').

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Guest PeaNut_HU

You made a typo, "TEATHERING" is written wrong, you should write "TETHERING".

Also i think if you mention build.prop, it may be valuable to mention its path, that it can be found in the system directory, either on a live phone and/or in the update.zip packages.

For the Hungarian Update you should also write, that the gradient color/blue tint problems are also fixed with the memory update, many ppl mentioned it fixed their TFT based phones with color problems.

Edited by PeaNut_HU
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Guest StevenHarperUK
Cool! I'd say add links where there's an obvious one or two.

How about sorting into normal dictionary order?

And maybe add 'Dialler Code' (also referred to as 'Engineering Mode').

I will add dialer codes - the order is meant to break you in - in the right order - I can change of other people feel the same way.

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Guest Arr Too

It's a glossary really, isn't it? And they're usually best listed in order. So maybe an initial blurb that suggests the list contains definitions for (a short list of) the basic things like ROM, Root, Nandroid, ...

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Guest PeaNut_HU

Sorry, don't want to be stating the obvious but...

I also noticed that you always write OLE instead of OLED in all your threads, while the ROM cooks address their topics appropriately with OLED and TFT tags.

OLE itself is an abbreviation that does not refer to a screen type, so it may be misleading for people who maybe use search to see what OLE means (and in technical terms most likely you'll find OLE means Object Linking and Embedding), where OLED refers to Organic Light Emission Diode which is a screen technology as TFT (Thin Film Transistor).

The Thesaurus idea is great, and hopefully will be stickied and reduce unnecesarry threads created by newbies everyday :unsure:

Edited by PeaNut_HU
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the sf is my first android phone and i must say when i'am looking at some of the topics to being tottal stump :unsure:

your guide(thesaurus) will help me find my way around the android system B)

thank you steven good guide, may be it should be pinned topic :angry:

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Guest StevenHarperUK
It's a glossary really, isn't it? And they're usually best listed in order. So maybe an initial blurb that suggests the list contains definitions for (a short list of) the basic things like ROM, Root, Nandroid, ...

So you think alphabetical order?

I am going to add links soon.

Still work in progress

Should I rename to Glossary?

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Guest PeaNut_HU
very helpful glossary, thanks for compiling all that info!

alphabetic order would make it easier to read through, I guess.

Maybe in a real glossary it is. But this glossary is built in order for you to understand what you are reading.

Every technical activity has its on glossary "environment" you must first know the technical abbreviations and functions associated with it so you can later understand the more technical walkthroughs and other descriptions.

If you read in an explanation about for example ADB before first knowing what it means and does, you won't understand the current explanation mentioning it you are reading because information would be still missing.

Edited by PeaNut_HU
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Guest friederike
Maybe in a real glossary it is. But this glossary is built in order for you to understand what you are reading.

If you read in an explanation about for example ADB before first knowing what it means and does, you won't understand the current explanation mentioning it you are reading because information would be still missing.

I was just thinking how I would probably use it, and that would be as reference for terms I don't understand in other texts/posts round here. for that kind of use an alphabetic order would be good. but that's just my view :unsure:

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Guest Arr Too
So you think alphabetical order?

That'd be my preference, but I fully understand your point about making some of the basic concepts more visible (for new users). So maybe start it off with an introduction that includes those terms (which the reader can then look up). Something like "Here is my humble

Glossary, where you can find definitions of the basic concepts like ROM, Recovery and Nandroid, as well as more advanced terms."

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Guest cartierv

Cool. I think new users get stuck on some of the tools and stuff. I mean there's zillions of threads called Clockwock mod recovery here. And it's just gobbledegook at first glance.

It's never actually properly explained for noobs what Clockwork is or why you would want it. What is the 'recovery' it does ? Why are threads on the forum labeled RECOVERY ? What is fastboot ?

I don't even know properly. Although I have downloaded them at some point.

There's a video of someone called Paul using ADB (at first I thought it was Apple Desktop Bus :unsure:) to upload a rom onto an sd card. But this is complex way of doing something simple.

Edited by cartierv
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