Android Dictionary


Staff member
Mar 16, 2011
If you're new to Android, then this might help you out.



  • Acer Iconia Smart: An Android phone from Acer with a 4.8-inch 1024 x 480 screen at a 21:9 aspect ration. It's a skinny, tall device.
  • Acclaim A mid-range Samsung phone on U.S. Cellular.
  • ADB: Android Debug Bridge. A tool used to connect and sends commands to your Android phone from a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Aero The first Android phone produced by Dell for AT&T. Not exactly a popular device.
  • Ally A mid-range Android phone made by LG for Verizon.
  • AMOLED: Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. Basically, a very colorful, bright, display found in some smartphones.
  • Amon Ra: Developer of a custom recovery mode for Android.
  • Android Google's open-source mobile operating system. It's used primarily in smartphones but also can be found on tablets, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) or even in kitchen appliances and automobile navigation.
  • Android Market Google's repository for Android applications. Features more than 70,000 apps (as of July 2010). Many of the apps are free.
  • Android Sideload Wonder Machine: A simple program for Windows or Linux and Mac that lets you easily sideload applications.
  • Andy Rubin: Vice President of Engineering at Google, overseeing project strategy and development of Android. Founder of Danger, which created the Sidekick and was later bought by Microsoft.
  • AOSP: The Android Open Source Project. When you hear about Android being "open source," this is what we're talking about. It's a repository of the code released by Google, which can be downloaded and compiled by anyone. (If you know how.)
  • .apk: The file extension of an Android application.
  • Apps: Short for "applications." The programs you download and run on a smartphone. Can be free, or for sale.
  • App Inventor Google's web-based system by which Android applications can be made without having to know how to code.
  • Apps2SD: An unapproved method of storing applications on the device's microSD card. An official method is included in Android 2.2.
  • Aria A 3.2-inch touchscreen phone made by HTC, with Android 2.1 and HTC Sense.
  • Archos: A line of mid-grade Android tablets. Not all that well known, but held in fairly high regard.
  • AT&T: One of the four major U.S. carriers.
  • Atrix 4G A 4-inch monster of a Motorola phone on AT&T. Has dual 1GHz processors, 1GB of RAM and a laptop dock for running the full desktop version of Firefox while simultaneously making phone calls and texting. Also has a desktop dock to do the same from the phone.
  • Axis A 3.2-inch mid-range Android phone on Cellular South.


  • Backflip: An odd little phone from Motorola that featured a backward-flipping camera. Has the distinction of being the first U.S. smartphone with a front-facing camera. Was the first Android phone on AT&T.
  • Bionic: See Droid Bionic
  • Bluetooth: A short-range radio build into smartphones that lets you connect headsets, speakerphones or even computers to your smartphone.
  • Bootloader: An internal mode on a phone that helps in the flashing of ROMs and other behind-the scenes actions.
  • Bravo A low-end 3-inch Motorola device on AT&T.


  • Captivate: AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy S.
  • Carrier: A company that provides cell phone service.
  • CDMA: One of two major standard for cell phone communications. Is used by Sprint and Verizon in the United States, and by a few nations elsewhere. Is largely seen as a dying standard. (See also GSM)
  • CES: North America's largest consumer electronics show, held in January at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  • Charm: A cute little 2.8-inch Motorola device with full QWERTY keyboard. Released on T-Mobile in August 2010.
  • Citrus: An entry-level Android 2.1 device from Motorola on Verizon.
  • Cliq: A 3.1-inch Motorola offering on T-Mobile. It's been replaced by the Cliq XT. Is known as the Dext outside of the U.S.
  • Cliq 2: A 3.7-inch phone with a horizontal sliding keyboard. Manufactured by Motorola, on the Verizon network.
  • Cliq XT: The follow-up to the Cliq, featuring a small trackpad. Launched with Android 1.5.
  • Clockwork: Developer of the ClockworkMod custom recovery mode for Android.
  • Continuum: A Samsung phone on Verizon sporting a second front display called the "Ticker," which can be used to show RSS feeds, weather, scores, music controls, etc.
  • CTIA: A bi-annual U.S. convention of the wireless industry. Nobody really knows what the abbreviation stands for anymore.
  • Cupcake: Android 1.5.
  • Cyanogen: The online handle of one Steve Kondik, relatively famous in the hacking and modding community and the creator of the CyanogenMod series of ROMs.


  • Defy: A 3.7-inch Android 2.1 device from Motorola on T-Mobile.
  • Desire: An HTC phone announced in February 2010; basically the Nexus One with the Sense user interface.
  • Desire HD: The follow-up to the Desire, with a larger screen, more memory and Android 2.2
  • Desire Z: The European version of the G2.
  • Dext: The non-U.S. version of the Motorola Cliq.
  • Devour A mid-range Motorola phone for Verizon with a sliding keyboard and Motoblur.
  • DLNA: Dynamic Living Network Alliance. A method for wirelessly streaming photos and videos from your smartphone to your TV.
  • Donut: Android 1.6.
  • Dream: See G1.
  • Droid: An extremely popular horizontal slider made by Motorola on the Verizon network and the ORIGINAL! The first to run Android 2.0 (and Android 2.0.1). Is currently running Android 2.2.x Also the name for a line of Verizon Android phones.
  • Droid 2 / Droid 2 Global: Launched in August 2010, the Droid 2 follows the lines of the original Droid, with some keyboard refinements and a faster processor. Launched with Android 2.2. Was quickly replaced by a CDMA/GMS "world" version that works outside the U.S.
  • Droid Bionic: Made by Motorola, a 4.3-inch dual-core Tegra 2 phone with a qHD display and LTE data.
  • Droid Eris: Manufactured by HTC for Verizon, was one of the first phones to run the HTC "Sense" user interface. Currently is end-of-life. U.S. version of the Hero.
  • Droid Incredible: Manufactured by HTC for Verizon. Featured an AMOLED screen, which later led to shortages.
  • Droid Incredible HD: See Thunderbolt.
  • Droid Pro: A 3.1-inch phone from Motorola with a full QWERTY keyboard on the front. Launched on Verizon with Android 2.2.
  • Droid X: Motorola's 4.3-inch touchscreen only phone, announced in June 2010 for a July launch on Verizon.


  • Early Termination Fee: Also known as an ETF, it's what a carrier chargers you to break out of your contract. Usually are prorated.
  • Earth: Mostly harmless.
  • Eclair: Android 2.0-2.1.
  • Epic 4G Sprint's version of the Samsung Galaxy S. Has 4G data and a horizontal sliding keyboard.
  • Evo 4G Sprint's 4.3-inch Android phone manufactured by HTC with the Sense interface and 4G capability.
  • Evo Shift 4G: An unannounced horizontal slider destined for Sprint. Essentially the carrier's version of the G2, though with 4G data.


  • Fascinate: Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy S.
  • Fastboot: Another mode akin to the bootloader, from which you can manually flash low-level components onto a phone.
  • FC: Short for "force close," meaning an app that has crashed.
  • Flipout: A forgettable Motorola device on AT&T with a rotating screen that uncovers a full QWERTY keyboard.
  • Froyo: Android 2.2. Announced at Google IO in May 2010, first released onto the Nexus One.


  • G1: The very first Android smartphone. Manufactured by HTC for T-Mobile. Released elsewhere as the HTC Dream.
  • Galaxy S: A high-end series of smartphones from Samsung. Announced in March 2010 at CTIA, they include the T-Mobile Variant, Verizon Fascinate, AT&T Captivate and Sprint Epic 4G
  • Galaxy S II: The successor to the Galaxy S line of phones by Samsung. It has a 4.3 inch display, a dual-core processor, front facing camera and is billed as the world's thinnest smartphone.
  • Galaxy Tab: Samsung's 7-inch Android tablet. Launched in fall 2010 with Android 2.2.
  • Galaxy Tab 10.1: Samsung's 10.1 inch Android tablet. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will ship with Honeycomb and has both rear and front facing cameras.
  • Gingerbread: Android 2.3. Mostly a behind-the-scenes update, though there are some UI tweaks. First loaded on the Nexus S.
  • Gmail: Google's web-based e-mail service.
  • Google: Our benevolent overlord, and owner of Android.
  • Google TV: Announced at the Google IO conference in May 2010, it's a combination of hardware and Android that features a full web browser, Android applications, and combines it with video that's available online -- Youtube, television, etc.
  • GSM: One of two major standard for cell phone communications. Is used by AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States, and by the majority of carriers worldwide. (See also CDMA)


  • Hack (Hacking): Modifying the Android system to add customization, features, or bypass carrier and manufacturer restrictions. See root.
  • Hero: An HTC phone released as the Droid Eris on Verizon. Also known as the G2 in Europe. Is different than the Sprint Hero.
  • Honeycomb: Android 3.0. The first version of Android designed with tablets specifically in mind. Allows apps to "fragment" or split over a single screen. Is the first Android version to fully support dual-core processors. The first tablet with Honeycomb was the Motorola Xoom.
  • HTC: A Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer. And a darn good one.
  • HTC ChaCha: A full portrait QWERTY keyboard and 2.6 inch display on an Android phone from HTC. It runs Gingerbread and has a dedicated Facebook button.
  • HTC Flyer: A 7 inch Android tablet from HTC with a solid aluminum body and a completely revamped HTC Sense specifically designed for tablets.


  • Incredible: See Droid Incredible.
  • Incredible S: A 4 inch HTC phone with a Super LDC display and a front facing camera.
  • Infuse: A monster 4.5-inch phone with a Super AMOLED display and 1.2GHz processor on AT&T.
  • Inspire: A 4.3-inch HTC device with Android 2.2 and 1GHz Snapdragon processor on AT&T.


  • JIT: The Just-in-Time Compiler. Released with Android 2.2, it's a method of greatly speeding up apps in Android on the software side.


  • Kernel: The basic Linux building block of Android. It's what lets your phone do its thing.
  • Keyboard: Either "physical" or "on-screen," depending on the phone.
  • Kyocera Echo The first dual screen Android device, debuting on Sprint in Spring 2011. Magicians and goldfish are not included.


  • Launcher: Collectively, the part of the Android user interface on home screens that lets you launch apps, make phone calls, etc. Is built in to Android, or can be purchased in the Android Market.
  • Legend: HTC's aluminum unibody phone with Android 2.1 and Sense.
  • LG: A Korean electronics and smartphone manufacturer. (Lucky Goldstar)
  • LG Optimus 3D: An LG Android phone with 3D video capture. It has a dual-core processor and dual channel memory, making it the fastest Android phone to date.
  • LG Optimus Pad:An 8.9 inch Android tablet from LG. It ships with Honeycomb, and has dual cameras for 3D video capture. (G-Slate)
  • Linux: An open source variant of Unix that is used as the underlying system on Android devices.
  • Live wallpapers: Animated wallpapers introduced in Android 2.1.


  • Magic: See myTouch 3G.
  • Manufacturer: A company that physically builds cell phones.
  • Mecha: See Thunderbolt.
  • Merge: An HTC phone that was slated for Verizon but has yet to be released. Features a horizontal keyboard and (approx.) 3.7-inch touchscreen. Also featured Bing instead of Google services.
  • Mobile World Congress (MWC): A European wireless industry trade show, held in Barcelona, Spain, the past few years.
  • Moment: A mid-range Samsung phone that has data lock-up and is forgotten about by everyone except sdx-developers. (definition via @chibucks)
  • Motorola: Manufacturer of smartphones and other hand-held wireless devices.
  • Motoblur: Motorola's custom Android interface. Heavy on widgets and social networking, low on sophistication.
  • myTouch 3G: The U.S. version of the HTC Magic. Specifically, the T-Mobile branded version. Also came in a limited edition branded by the Fender guitar company.
  • myTouch 3G Slide: A followup to the myTouch 3G, featuring a horizontal sliding keyboard and an updated version of the HTC Sense user interface.
  • myTouch4G: An HTC device and one of the first T-Mobile phones to have HSPA+ data. Also has a front-facing camera and a modified version of the Sense user interface.


  • Nexus One: The "Google phone." Initially sold only at Was the first Android phone with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Android 2.1.
  • Nexus S: The second "Pure Google" phone, this time developed by Samsung. It's basically a Galaxy S phone, with a 4-inch screen, near-field communication (NFC), and the first phone to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
  • Nook: Barnes & Noble's Android-based e-reader. Features a black-and-white e-ink display.
  • Nook Color: A full-color, full-touchscreen Android-based e-reader from Barnes and Noble. Can be hacked to basically serve as a full-fledged Android tablet.
  • NFC: Near-field communication. Short-range communication between your phone and something else -- another phone, a cash register, etc. Used by some credit cards as a method of quick payment.


  • OEM: Stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Usually a company that produces a component or entire device for another company. (Example: HTC was the OEM for the Google Nexus One.)
  • Open GL: An open source 3D graphics library used in many devices, including Android devices
  • Open Source: Software which is liberally licensed to grant the right of users to study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code.
  • Optimus: A line of smartphones from LG. In the U.S., they've mostly been mid-range.
  • Optimus 2X The first dual-core Tegra 2 Android smartphone. LG announced it in late 2010. Launching with Android 2.2, but will be upgraded to Gingerbread.
  • Optimus Mach: A high-end 3.8-inch device from LG in South Korea.
  • Optimus One: A mid-level, 3.2-inch Android 2.2 device from LG. This is the European version.
  • Optimus S/T/U/M: The U.S. versions of the LG Optimus One mid-range Android device. The letters point to which carrier they're on -- Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, MetroPCS.
  • Optimus Z: A high-end Korean smartphone from LG with a 3.5-inch touchscreen and TV antenna.
  • OTA: Stands for Over the Air. The act of moving data to your phone -- downloading, really -- without having to plug it in. Most Android system updates are OTA, as are application downloads.


  • PRL: The Preferred Roaming List, basically a way of telling your phone which towers to connect to first.


  • Q:uit asking us when your phone will be updated.
  • QR Code: A black-and-white barcode that, when scanned by your phone, can open a web link, point to an application in the Market, etc.


  • Reset (hard, soft): The rebooting of the phone. A soft reset is turning your phone off and on, or pulling the battery. A hard reset also is referred to as a factory reset, and wipes your personal information from the device.
  • Revolution: A 4.3-inch Android 2.2 device from LG, featuring LTE data. It's the Verizon version of the dual-core Tegra 2 Optimus 2X
  • ROM: Literally, "Read Only Memory." In Android, it's what you load for a major software update. "Custom ROMs" are just that -- developed outside control of a manufacturer or carrier.
  • Recovery Mode: A small separate operating mode you can boot your device into, used for device administration. Two popular custom recovery modes are Amon Ra and Clockwork.
  • Revue: Logitech's Google TV set-top box. It features a full-sized keyboard, plus wireless capability. One of the first Google TV devices.
  • Root: A method of unlocking the Android operating system to allow deeper programs deeper access than is allowed out of the box. (For more on root, click here.)
  • Root (SD card): The base folder (or top level) of the card. Often referred to as /sdcard in a file structure.
  • RTFM: Read the (ahem) friggin' manual.


  • Samsung: A Korean electronics company. Manufacturer of the Galaxy S series of Android phones, among others.
  • SBF: an SBF will bring your phone back to it's original out of the box state. Click here for more info
  • SD card (or microSD card): A small plastic "card" that expands the available storage memory on your phone. Used by applications to store data, and you can store ringtones, pictures, etc., on it.
  • Sense: A custom user interface (or skin) on top of Android. Exclusive to HTC smartphones.
  • Services: Portions of code that run in the background to provide content and services to applications.
  • Sideload: The act of installing an app outside of the Android Market. AT&T (tries to) prohibit its phones from doing this.
  • Sideload Wonder Machine: A simple open-source program that lets you sideload apps via computer, bypassing any restrictions a carrier might have put in place.
  • SIM card: The little card used in GSM phones (AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers, etc.) that connects the phone to the network.
  • Sony Ericsson: A joint wireless venture from Sony and Ericsson.
  • Spice: A 3-inch vertical slider from Motorola with Android 2.1.
  • Sprint: One of the four major U.S. carriers.
  • Streak: Dell's 5-inch tablet/MID device. Also known as the Dell Mini 5. Launched with Android 1.6, later updated to Android 2.2.
  • Super AMOLED: A generation ahead of AMOLED displays. Lighter, more power-efficient and less reflective than AMOLED.
  • Super AMOLED Plus: Take an AMOLED screen. Instead of eight subpixels per pixel, there are 12. Pretty awesome, actually.


  • T-Mobile: One of the four major U.S. carriers. Had the very first Android phone, the G1.
  • Tegra 2: NVIDIA's "System on a chip" that features dual-core processors, a powerful graphics processor and other acts of awesomeness.
  • Tethering: The act of using your smartphone's data to provide Internet access to another device, such as a laptop. Can be done wirelessly, or via a USB cable.
  • Thunderbolt: The first LTE phone from HTC. Has a 4.3-inch touchscreen and 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8MP camera on the back and a front-facing camera for video chat.
  • Touchwiz: Samsung's custom user interface. Born from Windows Mobile and made much better with the Galaxy S line.
  • Transformer: Asus' 10.1-inch dual-core Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet. Can convert into a netbook with optional Keyboard dock. Launched April 26 in the US and Canada.


  • USB: Stands for Universal Serial Bus. Is a method of connecting devices to a computer. Most smartphones now use microUSB cables to charge and sync.


  • Vanilla: A term used to describe stock Android.
  • Verizon: One of the four major U.S. carriers. Launched the "Droid" line of phones.
  • Vibrant: T-Mobile's version of the Samsung Galaxy S.
  • Viewpad 4: A quad-band GSM Android phone from Viewsonic.
  • Vortex: A low-end Android 2.2 device from LG on Verizon.


  • Widget: A slice or certain view of an application that can be placed on one of your homescreens, for quick and easy access.
  • Wildfire: A low-end 3.2-inch HTC smartphone.
  • Wildfire S: An updated version of the Wildfire from HTC with a 3.2 inch HVGA display and a 5 MP camera.


  • Xoom: Motorola's 10.1-inch dual-core Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet. Announced in January 2011 at CES. Launching with 3G, will be "hardware upgradable" to LTE in the second quarter of 2011.
  • Xperia: A line of phones by Sony Ericsson, including the X10, X10 Mini, X10 Mini Pro and X8.
  • Xperia Neo: A 3.7 inch Android phone from Sony Ericsson. The phone runs Gingerbread and was announced at Mobile World Congress 2011.
  • Xperia Play: The long-awaited Playstation phone. It has a 4 inch FWVGA display and will run games at 60 fps.
  • Xperia Pro: A 3.7 inch Android phone with a horizontal sliding keyboard, running Gingerbread.
  • Youtube: Google's web-based streaming video service. Accessible from an Android phone.
  • z4root: An app that allows easy rooting of a number of Android phones.

If you have something to add to this list then feel free to post it and I will add it.


Jul 24, 2011
O my "Wicked", thank you for this dictionary. I knew many of the terms but some were totally new. I am relatively new to learning about the "innards " of the android and this helped me get a leg up on the many acronyms and terms. Good on you!!


Staff member
Mar 24, 2011
Welcome to the forum squatre. I see you're finding your way around the forum, so I'll let you get on with it. Have fun out there.


Aug 4, 2011
Wow! This dictionary is awesome and very informative! Thanks, Wicked!

There are a couple items I didn't find and still wonder about:
What is OC? Is it the same as "overclock?" If not, please explain both.

Is CWR an app? What does it do?

What exactly is meant by "autonooter?"

What does "Pre-rooted" mean?

What is "Phiremod?"

Thanks for your help. I'm really really really a noob when it comes to Android :confused:



Aug 5, 2011
:D that looks like the mac osx dictionary icon?

great thanks..

can I point out 'mostly harmless' being the upgrade version entry to earth's status entry in the hitchhikes guide to the galaxy, the original entry being 'harmless'

how about T for Turing the mathematical genius who worked out the science behind binary algorithm.
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Aug 25, 2011

can I point out 'mostly harmless' being the upgrade version entry to earth's status entry in the hitchhikes guide to the galaxy, the original entry being 'harmless'

first dictionary that ever made me lol.

how about T for Turing the mathematical genius who worked out the science behind binary algorithm.

Allen Turing, as in "Turing test"... I'm not sure about the "binary algorithm", I thought Boole had something to do with that before Allen, but Allen, in cracking the Nazi Enigma cryptograph by which the German High command communicated with the U-boat fleet,is one of the reasons we are not speaking German as a first language.


Oct 16, 2011
Excellent, thanks! At work I always add a small glossary to slides assuming a mixed audience. The important goal is that everyone understands!


Dec 26, 2012
Android OS help from Google. If you are looking for the basics of Android or for something specific, the chances are you will find some help in the links below. If you are new to Android and unsure where to start, getting an overview by reading the information here will probably be a big help.