The latest addition in the world of mobile communication technology is the 3G phone. This piece of high-tech telephony allows users to browse the Internet, share multimedia files, send and receive emails, and participate in video conferences, among other activities.
3G is short for 3rd generation and is sometimes referred to as the next generation in mobile phone technology. Previous incarnations were Generation 1, which was analog technology that first appeared in the 1970s, and Generation 2, a digital standard introduced in the 1990s, which brought us capabilities like SMS messaging via mobile phone networks.
The new 3G standard allows data to be transferred at high speeds between digital wireless phones, thanks to the technology having significantly higher bandwidth than previous standards.
This next generation of mobile technology brings with it the introduction of a new file format, 3gp. This is a video file format and enables multimedia streaming on 3G compatible phones, allowing users to create, view and share video files over their mobile phone network.
It is a media container format, which means that several different file types are stored together within one file. In this case, the audio, video and bit rate information, which is data related to the size and transfer time of the images, are stored together.
The 3gp format is a simplistic version of MP4 or MPEG-4 technology, and its creation was designed to decrease the amount of bandwidth required and the overall file size so that it could be incorporated into mobile phones.
The format was defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project, known as 3GPP, and the Third Generation Partnership Project 2, or 3GPP2. These organizations involve the cooperation of several countries in a collaboration agreement with the aim of standardizing the formats of mobile phones. The aim is to allow the constant delivery of multimedia formats through the new third generation mobile networks around the world.
There are two international standards for the 3gp file format:
3GPP – Uses the .3gp file extension and is compatible with GSM-based phones.
3GPP2: Compatible with CDMA mobiles and uses the .3g2 file extension.
3gp videos stored on mobile phones are easily transferred to a computer via USB or Bluetooth technology and are suitable for all platforms such as Linux, Mac and Windows. Multimedia applications like Quick Time, Media Player and Real Player are all capable of playing 3gp files.
There are many software programs available that can convert 3gp files to other video formats, including avi or wmv, allowing playback on other platforms. These and other formats can also be converted to 3gp, allowing them to be used by 3G phones. Conversion software is widely available, mostly free of charge, over the Internet.
Most of today’s 3G mobile phones are capable of recording and creating 3gp files, as well as having playback and sharing functions. There may be limits on resolution, memory, and maximum file size, depending on the make and model of your mobile phone.
Some of the newer or high-end 2G phones have the ability to play 3gp files just like the latest 4G phones. However, again depending on the make and model, there may be some limitations.