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A ringtone or ring tone is the sound made by a telephone to indicate an incoming call. The term, however, is most often used to refer to the customizable sounds available on mobile phones. This facility was originally provided so that people would be able to determine when their phone was ringing when in the company of other mobile phone owners.

A phone only rings when a special "ringing signal" is sent to it. For regular telephones, the ringing signal is a 90-volt, 20-hertz, AC wave generated by the switch to which the telephone is connected. For mobile phones, the ringing signal is a specific, radio-frequency signal.

A telephone ring is the sound generated when an incoming telephone call is received. The term originated from the fact that telephones notified the household of an incoming call by repeatedly striking a bell or bells, producing a ringing sound.

This "Magneto" bell system is still in widespread use; newer telephones use electronic sounders to produce other noises, but the term "ring" is still used. The ringing signal sent to a customer's telephone is AC at around 90 volts (at 20 hertz in North America, because of the use of 60 Hz mains; other regions with 50 Hz mains use 25 Hz); modern telephones electronically produce a warbling or chirping sound. The signal is sent for every ring and allows phone operators to provide several services with different kinds of rings (for example, rings with a shorter interval between them might be used to signal a call from a given number). When a home phone rings, it may carry Caller ID information and present it on a screen.

The ringing cadence differs between telephone administrations: the UK and many countries of the British Commonwealth use "brr-brr" at 2s intervals; north America and much of continental Europe use "brr" with a variety of intervals.

[ringtone support] History

The first commercial mobile ring tones were created and delivered in Finland in 1998 when a Finnish mobile operator Radiolinja (today Elisa) started their downloadable mobile ring tone service called Harmonium invented by Vesa-Matti Paananen.[1] The Harmonium contained both tools for general public to create monophonic ring tones and a mechanism to deliver them over-the-air (OTA) via SMS to a mobile handset and to bill customer on their phone bill. The service concept spread quickly in Europe and Asia and developed to be a multi billion industry globally.[2] A ring tone service was one of the very first successful m-commerce services and contained also social media aspects like composing, sharing and rating ring tones. The Harmonium also created quickly a need for high quality professional ring tones and commercial ring tone libraries.

The rise of video games has also contributed to the popularity of ring tones.[3] On August 5, 2006, the BBC reported that "free ringtones" was the eighth most likely search term to return links to malware.[4]

By 2005, ring tones generating more than $2 billion in annual worldwide revenues.[5] Real tones, which are often excerpts from pop songs, have become popular as ringtones. A recent innovation is the singtone, whereby the user's voice is recorded to a popular track and then "tuned-up" automatically to sound good. This can then be downloaded as a ringtone or sent to another user's mobile phone.

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[ringtone support] Ringing signal

A ringing signal is an electronic telephony signal that causes a telephone to alert the user to an incoming call.

On a POTS telephone system, this is created by sending an alternating current signal of about 100 volts into the line. Today this signal is transmitted digitally for most of the journey, converted into an alternating current only if the line is not digital end-to-end.

On old, rotary phones, this voltage was used to trigger a high-impedance electromagnet to ring a bell on the phone. Modern Fixed phones detect this AC voltage and trigger a ring tone electronically. Mobile phones are fully digital, hence are signalled to ring as part of the protocol they use to communicate with the cell base stations.

In fixed POTS phones,ringing is said to be "tripped" when the impedance of the line reduces to about 600 ohms when the telephone handset is lifted off the switch-hook. This causes the telephone call to be answered, and the telephone exchange immediately removes the ringing signal from the line and connects the call. This is the source of the name of the problem called "ring-trip", which occurs when the ringing signal on the line causes a low-resistance short between the conductors, which trips the ring out before the subscriber's actual telephone has a chance to ring (for more than a very short time); this is common with wet weather and improperly installed lines.

Early research showed that people would wait until the phone stopped ringing before picking it up. Breaks were introduced into the signal to avoid this problem, resulting in the common ring-pause-ring pattern used today. In early party line systems this pattern was a Morse code letter indicating who should pick up the phone, but today, with individual lines, the only surviving patterns are a single ring (in the USA) and double-ring (in the UK), originally Morse code letters T and M respectively.

The ringing pattern is known as ring cadence. This only applies to POTS fixed phones, where the high voltage ring signal is switched on and off to create the ringing pattern. In North America, the standard ring cadence is "2-4", or two seconds of ringing followed by four seconds of silence. In the UK, the standard ring cadence is 400 ms on, 200 ms off, 400 ms on, 2000 ms off. These patterns may vary from region to region, and other patterns are used in different countries around the world.

A service akin to party line ringing is making a comeback in some small office and home office situations allowing facsimile machines and telephones to share the same line but have different telephone numbers; this CLASS feature is usually called distinctive ringing generically, though carriers assign it trademarked names such as "Smart Ring". This feature is also used for a second phone number assigned to the same physical line for roommates or teenagers, in which case it is sometimes marketed under the name teen line.

Caller ID signals are sent during the silent interval between the first and second bursts of the ringing signals.

The interrupted ring signal was designed to attract attention and studies showed that an intermittent two tone ring was the easiest to hear. This had nothing to do with the coded ringing that was used on party line.

[ringtone support] Features

Whereas older telephones simply used a pair of bells for the ringer, modern ring tones have become extremely diverse, leading to phone personalization and customization.

Newer mobile phones allow the users to associate different ring tones for different phone book entries. Taking advantage of these features, a new Ringtone Maker trend has emerged. For example, websites like Mobilephoria, Phonezoo, Phone Sherpa, and Dopetone let users make ringtones from the music they already own (MP3, CD etc.) and upload directly to their mobile phone with no limit on the number of songs uploaded. In addition to the cost benefits, a key feature is the music ringtone supportor that lets the user easily pick the part of the song they wish to set as a ringtone. Such services automatically detect the phone settings to ensure the best file type and format. There are however providers who have already ringtone supported and trimmed the song for you.

Others also allow users to create their own music tones, either with a "melody composer" or a sample/loop arranger (such as the MusicDJ in many Sony Ericsson phones). However, these use native formats only available to one particular phone model or brand. Although other formats, such as MIDI or MP3, are often supported; they must be downloaded to the phone before they can be used as a normal ring tone. Commercial ring tones take advantage of this functionality, which has led to the success of the mobile music industry. Southern rapper Chamillionaire was the first to have a ring tone go 3x platinum for the hit single "Ridin." He now has his own category on certain phones.[citation needed]

The latest innovation is the sing tone, a type of karaoke ring tone where a user’s voice recording is adjusted to be both in time and in tune then mixed with a backing track to make a user-created ring tone.

An alternative to a ring tone for mobile phones is a vibrating alert. It may be useful:

  • In noisy environments
  • In places where ring tone noise would be disturbing
  • For those with a hearing loss

[ringtone support] Types of Ringtones

A Monophonic ringtone is a ringtone that can play only one type of musical tone at a time.

A Polyphonic ringtone is a ringtone that can play several types of tones at a time (up to 72 in recent phones). The first polyphonic ringtones used sequenced recording methods such as MIDI. Such recordings specify what instrument should play a note at a given time, but the actual instrument sound is dependent upon the playback device.

A Truetone is a Ring tone which has been encoded with a high fidelity format such MP3, AAC, or WMV format, and represents the latest evolution of the ringtone. It is often also referred to as a Mastertone, a Realtone or a Superphonic Ringtone. Real tones, which are often excerpts from pop songs, have become popular as ringtones. A recent innovation is the singtone, whereby the user’s voice is recorded to a popular track and then “tuned-up” automatically to sound in key. This can then be downloaded as a ringtone or sent to another user’s mobile phone.

[ringtone support] Ringtone formats

  • eMelody - Older Ericsson format.
  • iMelody - Most new phones that don't do Nokia's Smart Messaging are using this format.
  • KWS - Kyocera's ringer format.
  • MID / MIDI - Popular sound format.
  • Morse code - Text files with a .MORSE extension get converted into morse code songs
  • MOT - An older ringer format for Motorola phones.
  • MP3 - Some phones support ringtones that are mp3 format.
  • Nokia / SCKL / OTT - Nokia Smart Messaging format. Nokia phones can receive ringtones as a text message. Ringtone tools can create these text messages. This allows anyone with a compatible phone to load their own ringtones in without a data cable. There are other phones besides Nokia that use this.
  • PDB - Palm database. This is the format used to load ringtones on PDA phones such as the Kyocera 6035 and the Handspring Treo
  • QCP - File format generated by Qualcomm PureVoice software.
  • RTTTL - A popular text format for ringtones.
  • RTX - Similar to rtttl with some advanced features. Also the octaves are different on rtx.
  • Samsung1 & Samsung2 - Samsung keypress format.
  • Siemens Keypress - Can create and read in a Siemens text file format.
  • Siemens SEO - Siemens SEO binary format.
  • SMAF - Yamaha music format that combines MIDI with instrument sound data (ala Module files). Filenames have the extension "MMF."
  • AAC - Some phones like the Sony Ericsson W810i support ring tones in ".m4a" AAC format.

[ringtone support] Ringtone maker

A ringtone maker allows a user to take a song from their music collection, pick the part that they like and send the file to their mobile phone.

Users should beware of "free" ringtone makers, as they often use fine print to sign the user up for text alerts or a subscription that charges the users phone bill and is hard to cancel. In many cases, ringtone maker companies offer "sharing" which can be a violation of copyright laws unless the artist has specifically licensed their music to be shared.

[ringtone support] Criticism

Ring tone advertising campaigns have become hugely popular, though they have also attracted a great deal of criticism. For example, in May 2005 Jamster! bought 73,716 spots across all TV channels for the Crazy Frog advertisements.

In April 2005, the law firm of Callahan, McCune and Willis filed a class action lawsuit against Jamster! on behalf of a San Diego father and his 10-year-old daughter.[6] The lawsuit alleges that Jamster! scammed cellular telephone customers through the use of fraudulent and deceptive advertisements. The ads in question offered one free ring tone to cell phone customers who responded to the ad via text message, but failed to inform users that they would be subscribed to a monthly service.[7] The lawsuit is pending as of March 2007.

On July 20, 2005, the Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a non-profit California consumer advocacy organization, filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) against Cingular Wireless for the unauthorized billing of non-communications related charges, such as ring tones.[8] UCAN claimed that Cingular billed its customers for Jamster! and other similar ring tone services without providing customers with the notice, opt-in, and proof of authorization requirements necessary for such charges.[9] UCAN further charged Cingular with violating numerous CPUC requirements by consistently telling customers with questions about non-communications service charges on their wireless phone bill that Cingular has no responsibility and cannot assist customers with their inquiries.[10] UCAN and Cingular reached a settlement on October 19, 2006, which resulted in stronger notification and authorization requirements for Cingular regarding non-communications charges and also required Cingular to institute a ready means to address billing issues and cancel wireless content services, such as ring tones.[11]

[ringtone support] See also

[ringtone support] External links

[ringtone support] References

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