Thursday, August 25, 2011

Difference between ringback tones and ringtones

Ringtones are the sounds the snazzy little cellphones make when they ring that not just the mobile owner, but everyone in the room, hears too, and glares at them about. (My theory? Ringtones are one of the reasons you can't keep your cell phones on everywhere. Oh, airplanes and hospitals are one thing. But where life and limb aren't under threat, people could probably live with a few brrrr-brrrrs. But a packed lecture hall discussing the physics of communications technology suddenly receiving an explosive 10-second rendition of Queen's Bicycle Race? That's not disruption, that's a flash mob.)

You can download ringtones to your cellphone. You can make your own. You can get them from whoever you've got a service contract with. Ringtones that are portions of real songs are actually truetones, versus the polyphonic ringtones, which are like the notes you heard on the old Name That Tune Show. You know - "Ba-ba-BA-BA-BA-ba-BA - now name that tune!" Ringtones are a $2 billion industry.

Ringback tones are kinda special. They're just for the person who calls you. When they call you, you know the ringtone you hear? Well, they hear regular ringing - unless you've chosen a personalized ringback tone for them to hear. You can totally decide who gets to hear the personalized ringback tones you set to fire on your mobile and who doesn't.

Ringbacks are also known as caller tunes and answer tones. Offers for free ringback tones abound on the Internet, but be wary; you can't get ringback tones downloaded to your phone, just ringtones. As far as I can gather, you get ringback tones only from your cell phone carrier.

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