Smart phones 101: What you need to know before buying your next phone

4G? LTE? CDMA? Lost in the alphabet soup?

Before you buy a new phone, here's a quick guide to smart phone jargon. There are more than 40 Android smartphones available right now – not to mention devices from Apple, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and several others. Rather than succumb to choice blindness, let's lay out what you'll need to know, point by point.

First, we'll dive into operating systems. What are the pros and cons of the iPhone versus Google's Android device? 

Next, we will peek behind the curtain at network terms. What's the difference between 3G and 4G? Is AT&T's 4G faster than Verizon's?

Finally, let's take a look at phone specs. Are the cameras on phones any good? What's a GHz?

Smart phone operating systems

Choosing a phone's operating system is very much like picking between of Mac or PC computer. Each operating system, or OS, can do basically the same things – they all make call, they all have apps. But each has its own focus.

Apple's iOS: The iPhone really defined the look and feel of modern smart phones. It defined what phones should look like – with dimensions similar to a touch screen that takes up one entire side of the device, a home page  Apple set the standard for a large touch screen, a home page filled with apps, and controls that revolved around pinch, tap, and swipe. Svelte has the device may be, the iPhone is all about apps.

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