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Grasping RAM, ROM, Flash, User, Built-in, and External Memory

by philwells    Sep 22, 2010, 1:57 AM


I’m doing a report about Smartphones and the carriers for a non-profit organization called UCAN ( I’m finding your site to be very helpful.

I’m trying to understand the seemingly interchangeable terms for memory that I find at different sites. I see RAM, ROM, Flash, User, Built-in, and External. The first and last a clear. Some phones don’t show a ROM spec but they show a Flash spec. I know that Flash memory is not RAM because it’s slower and I gather that it usually contains the OS + apps. Do some phones have the OS stored in a EPROM (i.e.ROM) instead of flash memory or are ROM and Flash the same?

Some phones show internal USER memory. I assume this to be part of either the flash memory or part of the microSD card – equivalent to the space on a HDD left over for user apps and files after the OS and those apps shipped w/ the phone are counted.

Can you help me out here?

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