What Does Ringtone Mean?

A ringtone is the audible sound emitted by a telephone to alert the owner about an incoming call. While a traditional landline phone also sounds a ring tone, the term ringtone is more closely associated with the sound effects or melodies emitted by a mobile phone.


Techopedia Explains Ringtone

When cellular technology was still in its infancy, most cellular phones were only capable of generating monophonic tones. This type of ringtone utilizes basic sequencing technology and creates a series of musical notes played one at a time using a single instrument.

Most contemporary phones today can support some or all of the following ringtone types:

  • Polyphonic tones, which mimic different musical instruments, playing up to 40 notes at a time
  • Truetones, which can be an actual song or real-life sounds recorded in MP3, WMV or WAV formats
  • Sing tones, which combine the user’s voice and a background track karaoke style
  • Video ringtones, which use video content

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…