Talking About Phone Screens? Get Your Acronyms Straight

phone screen

It used to be that academia was where the acronyms hung out: MBA, Ph.D., NCLB, SRBI, SAT, ACT, etc.

But the evolution of technology is doing its best to unseat education as the favorite locale of the acronym. There’s SIP, SRTP, HTPPS, XMPP, XML, NFV, SDN, and countless others. Now, thanks to the proliferation and ubiquity of smartphones and mobile devices, many more acronyms have entered the mix.

That’s because, not surprisingly, a lot of amazing pieces of technology go into the construction of such devices. (And it’s easier to refer to, say, an active-matrix organic light-emitting diode as a having an AMOLED display, than, well, referring to it in the long form.)

With so many acronyms at your disposal, it’s important you make sure to get a good grasp on exactly what each of them means so as to prove you’re someone who knows what you’re talking about when it comes to the technologies that power our modern lives.

Case in point: phone screens. To better prepare you for the next time you’re trying to prove that your phone is better than everyone else’s, we’ve provided a brief glossary for your reading pleasure.


Most technologists have been aware of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) functionality since flatscreen TVs started becoming popular nearly a decade ago. The technology relies on a liquid crystal solution that’s inserted between two sheets of polarized materials. When electricity is charged into the liquid, the crystals become opaque, working to prevent light from passing through, thus generating the images we see with our eyes.

On the other hand, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays do not rely on synthetic substances to create images. Instead, when electricity is introduced, organic materials glow. This creates the images we see, and allows manufacturers to create products that feature razor-thin screens. OLED technology continues to gain more steam, with LG recently announcing that they’re forgoing glass altogether and relying solely on versatile plastic-OLED screens instead.


If you want to expand your vocabulary even further, try this one: AMOLED. This technology consists of transistors and capacitors “actively” manipulating each pixel. Rather than changing each pixel when pictures and images change, AMOLED displays manipulate only the precise number of pixels that need to be altered. The end result? Longer battery life—something that can’t be overlooked in today’s mobile world.

Digging Deeper Into LCD

Of course, there are many technologies that go into creating an LCD screen. Basically, if you want to become a true pro in the realm of all things screen-related, you’re going to have to know these four, too:

  • Thin-film transistor (TFT). This technology is integrated into LCDs to address issues of accessibility and contrast in a device’s picture quality. TFT LCDs rely on active-matrix addressing schemes to enhance picture quality.
  • In-plane switching (IPS). Most prominently, Apple uses IPS LCD screen on some of its iPhone models. We say most prominently because anyone who’s been inside the local Apple store will tell you that they’d be hard-pressed to avoid hearing about the cutting-edge IPS technology used in high-end screens. But truth be told: The tech—which was designed to improve viewing angles and better reproduce colors—has been around for nearly 20 years.
  • Indium Gallium Zinc Oxygen (IGZO). Hailed by some as the “future of high-resolution displays,” IGZO technology syncs with a device’s backplane. Together, the two technologies work to increase image resolution while burning as little battery life as possible.

The list of tech-related acronyms goes on and on—really, it’s endless—but if you want to get a head start on your peers when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of displays, the above is probably a great start.

So study well, and who knows? Before you know it, you might be able to form complete sentences in nothing but acronyms. GL and TTYL!

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