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Modern Advances In Technology And Ringtones

May 31, 2008
In the old days of land-bound telephones an electrical pulse sent through the wires and into your phone set off the mechanism that caused a bell to ring and alert you to the incoming call. This sound became so synonymous with the telephone call that it became a part of our language and culture.

Such phrases as; "Give me a ring" and "Ring me up", became standard parlance for the telephone call. The ringing sound has even carried over into the world of wireless cellular telephones in the form of "ringtones".

The modern mobile cell phone has the capability of playing a short digital sound file to alert the user to an incoming call. The first ringtones were simple monophonic sounds that could be buzzes, chirps, pings or other unique sound. The early ringtones were heavily influenced by the video games of the time. These first ringtones, while you could interchange them as you wished, could still only be programmed in to use one at a time.

As cell phone technology grew, so did the sophistication of the ringtone. Polyphonic ringtones were developed using the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) format. These new ringtones were capable of producing musical selections instead of mere alert sounds. Whether you preferred clips of classical or popular music or just interesting sound sequences huge libraries of ringtone sound files were soon available for your selection.

Another new feature was introduced into the cell phones. It became possible to program in individual ringtones to play depending on the phone number initiating the call. With this advancement you could now not only distinguish your phone in a room of other cell phones but could tell who was calling from the individualized ringtone you had programmed for that person's phone number.

Now modern ringtones have matured to the level of Truetone capability. Using a variety of different sound file formats you can use pieces of actual recorded music to create ringtones. Some popular formats are mp3 and WAV files while a few companies create specialized file formats for their exclusive use on their phone equipment. Most new cell phones, however, can use any popular format.

Some new phones have the programs for excerpting snippets from song sound files built right into the memory of the phone. A growing business is to have a digital audio editor program online that can be used to create new ringtones and then charge a small fee to download the resultant ringtone to your phone.

The new Apple iPhone is partnered with iTunes to provide not only downloadable music to carry with you on your multimedia capable phone but offers the use of a program to edit ringtones out of any music file you have purchased from them. The limit on the ringtone file for the iPhone is currently set at between three and thirty seconds with the capability of looping the sound indefinitely.

Making the ringtone file from your own music file eliminates one of the few major dangers that can be associated with Truetone ringtones. With the increased computerization of the cell phone technology and the use of the same type of sound files, hackers have found ways to embed spyware and malware into mp3 files.

They can use them against your phone in much the same way as they do your computer. Caution should be used in downloading any "free" ringtone. For both safety and the fun it can provide, it is best to use the available technology to create your own custom ringtones.
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