Written by Adam Blau
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Between monophonic ringtones, polyphonic ringtones and truetones, it is easy to see why a cell phone customer might be confused about the range of options available for signaling incoming phone calls. Back in the day, a ringtone was a ringtone; there wasn't really any variety from which a customer could choose. Perhaps there was a selection of four or five rings prepackaged on a cell phone.

Now, though, there is a plethora of ringtones and ringtone varieties available to the consumer. Different cell phone brands use different technologies, and it is important to differentiate between the types of ringtones that are compatible with different phones. This distinction becomes especially important once clients start downloading ringtones from their service provider or an independent content provider.

Monophonic Ringtones, Polyphonic Ringtones and Truetones

The oldest type of ringtone available for cell phones is the monophonic ringtone. These are individual melody lines or beeps that play one given note at a time. Monophonic ringtones take up the least amount of memory. Polyphonic ringtones operate the same way, except that they can play several notes at the same time, allowing for more realistic, recognizable songs to be played.

Truetones are different beasts entirely. Instead of playing back individual melodies on the cell phone's tiny synthesizer, truetones are actual audio recordings of original material. Someone can actually take a sound file and convert it to a ringtone that is playable on your cellular phone. Not all phones can accommodate truetones, though, so if you plan to use this format, make sure your cell phone is compatible.

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