Mobile Computing Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing mobile computing and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • #

    2D barcode (two-dimensional barcode)

    A 2D (two-dimensional) barcode is a graphical image that stores information horizontally as one-dimensional barcodes do, as well as vertically.

  • 4G (fourth-generation wireless)

    4G is the short name for fourth-generation wireless, the stage of broadband mobile communications that supersedes 3G (third-generation wireless) and is the predecessor of 5G (fifth-generation wireless).

  • 802.11

    802.11 is an evolving family of specifications for wireless local area networks (WLANs) developed by a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)....(Continued)

  • 802.11d

    802.11d is a communications specification for use in countries where systems using other standards in the 802.11 family are not allowed to operate.

  • 802.11i

    802.11i is a standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs) that provides improved encryption for networks that use the popular 802.11a and 802.11b (which includes Wi-Fi standards).

  • 802.11n

    802.11n is an addition to the 802.11 family of standards. The goal of 802.11n is to increase wireless local area network (WLAN) speed, improve reliability and extend the range of wireless transmissions. 802.11n uses multiple input / multiple output (MIMO) technology and a wider radio frequency channel.

  • 802.11x

    802.11x refers to a group of evolving wireless local area network (WLAN) standards that are under development as elements of the IEEE 802.11 family of specifications, but that have not yet been formally approved or deployed.

  • A

    Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)

    Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) is a feature of the Windows Server operating system (OS) that extends end users' single sign-on (SSO) access to applications and systems outside the corporate firewall.

  • Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS)

    Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) is a standard system for analog signal cellular telephone service in the United States and is also used in other countries. It is based on the initial electromagnetic radiation spectrum allocation for cellular service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1970. Introduced by AT&T in 1983, AMPS became one of the most widely deployed cellular system in the United States. (Continued...)

  • Amazon Cloud Drive

    Amazon Cloud Drive is an online storage service that allows users to upload and access music, videos, documents and photos from Web-connected devices.

  • Android for Work

    Android for Work is a program for devices running on the Google Android mobile operating system that allows IT to manage and secure business applications on a work-specific profile.

  • Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

    The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is an initiative created to guide development of the Android mobile platform.

  • Android Oreo

    Android Oreo 8.0 is the eighth major update to the Android operating system that contains newer features and enhancements for application developers.

  • Android OS

    Android OS is a Linux-based mobile operating system that primarily runs on smartphones and tablets.

  • Android Studio

    Android Studio is the official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android application development.

  • antenna

    An antenna is a specialized transducer that converts radio-frequency (RF) fields into alternating current (AC) or vice-versa.

  • app

    App is an abbreviated form of the word "application."  An application is a software program.

  • app store (application store)

    An app store (application store) is an online portal through which software programs are made available for procurement and download.

  • app wrapping (application wrapping)

    App wrapping is the process of applying a management layer to a mobile app without requiring any changes to the underlying application.

  • Apple 3D Touch

    Apple 3D Touch is a pressure-sensitive feature first included in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus that triggers different actions based on how much force the user puts on the screen.

  • Apple AirDrop

    Apple AirDrop is a feature on iOS and OS X devices that allows users to transfer data over the same Wi-Fi network from one Apple device to another.

  • Apple Bonjour

    Apple Bonjour is a group of networking technologies designed to help devices and applications discover each other on the same network.

  • Apple Business Manager

    Apple Business Manager (ABM) is an online portal for IT administrators who deploy Mac OS, iOS and tvOS devices in an enterprise or educational setting.

  • Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP)

    The Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) is an online service that automates the enrollment and configuration of Apple iOS devices in an organization’s mobile device management software.

  • Apple iOS

    Apple iOS is a proprietary mobile operating system that runs on mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

  • Apple iPad Pro

    Apple iPad Pro is the company's large, powerful, high-resolution tablet, aimed at users who require graphics-heavy applications and a PC-like screen and interface.

  • Apple iTunes

    Apple iTunes is software that allows computer users to purchase, download and manage music, videos, applications and other media.

  • Apple TV (Apple TV 4)

    Apple TV is a set-top box that allows end users to stream multimedia content from the Internet over a television.

  • Apple User Enrollment

    Apple User Enrollment (UE) is a form of mobile device management (MDM) for Apple products that supports iOS 13 and macOS Catalina.

  • Apple Watch

    Apple Watch is Apple's entry into the smartwatch market. It pairs with an iPhone to let users send texts, make calls, manage schedules, navigate and much more.

  • Apple Watch OS (Apple Watch operating system)

    The operating system for Apple Watch is designed to take advantage of the wearable nature of the device with features such as Glances that cater to the smaller screen and its location on the user's wrist.

  • application sandboxing

    Application sandboxing, also called application containerization, is an approach to software development and management and mobile application management (MAM) that limits the environments in which certain code can execute.

  • automated speech recognition (ASR)

    Automated speech recognition (ASR) is a technology that allows users of information systems to speak entries rather than punching numbers on a keypad.

  • wireless access point

    A wireless access point (wireless AP) is a network device that transmits and receives data over a wireless local area network (WLAN). Typically, wireless routers are used in homes and small businesses where all users can be supported by one combined AP and router.

  • B

    bluesnarfing

    Bluesnarfing is the theft of information from a wireless device through a Bluetooth connection.

  • Bluetooth

    Bluetooth is a telecommunications industry specification that describes how mobile devices, computers and other devices can easily communicate with each other using a short-range wireless connection.

  • C

    camcorder (camera recorder)

    A camcorder (camera recorder) is a portable electronic recording device capable of recording live-motion video and audio for later playback.

  • captive portal

    A captive portal is a Web page that the user of a public-access network is obliged to view and interact with before access is granted. Captive portals are typically used by business centers, airports, hotel lobbies, coffee shops, and other venues that offer free Wi-Fi hot spots for Internet users.

  • Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a security policy management platform that provides secure network access to users and devices.

  • cloud drive

    A cloud drive is an umbrella term used to describe any Web-based service that provides storage space on a remote server.

  • common short code (CSC)

    Common short codes (CSC) are short telephone numbers, usually consisting of five digits, that are used to address SMS and MMS messages from cellular telephones. Common short codes may also be called mobile short codes or short numbers... (Continued)

  • configuration profile (CP)

    A configuration profile (CP) is an XML file that an IT administrator can use to customize settings on an end user's Apple iOS or Mac OS X device.

  • consumerization of IT

    The consumerization of IT refers to how software and hardware products designed for personal use migrated into the enterprise and were used for work purposes.

  • COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled)

    COPE (corporate-owned personally-enabled) is a business model in which an organization provides its employees with mobile computing devices and allows the employees to use them as if they were personally-owned notebook computers, tablets or smartphones.

  • cross-platform mobile development

    Cross-platform mobile development is the creation of software applications that are compatible with multiple mobile operating systems.

  • CYOD (choose your own device)

    CYOD (choose your own device) is an alternative model to BYOD (bring your own device) that involves allowing employees to select the device they want from among a limited number of options. CYOD is an example of the COPE (corporate-owned, personally-enabled) model.

  • D

    device-agnostic (device agnosticism)

    Device agnosticism, or device-agnostic, is the capacity of a computing component to work with various systems without requiring any particular adaptations.

  • digital audio broadcasting (DAB)

  • digital video broadcasting (DVB)

    Digital video broadcasting (DVB) is a set of standards that define digital broadcasting using DVB satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcasting infrastructures.

  • direct broadcast satellite (DBS)

    Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) refers to satellite television (TV) systems in which the subscribers, or end users, receive signals directly from geostationary satellites.

  • disappearing e-mail

    Disappearing e-mail is a message sent using a type of distribution management tool for e-mail.

  • distributed antenna system (DAS)

    A distributed antenna system (DAS) is a way to deal with isolated spots of poor coverage inside a large building by installing a network of relatively small antennas throughout the building to serve as repeaters.

  • downlink and uplink

    These terms should not be confused with downstream and upstream.

  • Dropbox

    Dropbox is a cloud storage provider (sometimes referred to as an online backup service) that is frequently used as a file-sharing service.

  • E

    electromagnetic interference (EMI)

    Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is unwanted noise or interference in an electrical path or circuit caused by an outside source.

  • end-user computing (EUC)

    End-user computing (EUC) refers to the devices, applications and data that workers need to perform their jobs, and the technologies used to deploy, manage and secure those resources.

  • enterprise file sync and share (EFSS)

    Enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) is a service that allows users to save files in cloud or on-premises storage and then access them on desktop and mobile devices.

  • enterprise mobility

    Enterprise mobility is an approach to work in which employees can do their jobs from anywhere using a variety of devices and applications.

  • enterprise mobility management (EMM)

    Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is software that allows organizations to securely enable employee use of mobile devices and applications.

  • F

    FaceTime

    FaceTime is an Apple video telephony application that allows users to make a video call over the internet with a forward-facing camera on iOS and macOS devices.

  • FDMA (frequency division multiple access)

  • file sharing

    File sharing is the public or private sharing of files or folders on a networked computer.

  • fixed wireless

    Fixed wireless networking refers to the operation of wireless devices in fixed locations such as homes and offices.

  • fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)

    Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) is the trend towards seamless connectivity between fixed and wireless telecommunications networks... (Continued)

  • forward error correction (FEC)

    Forward error correction (FEC) is a method of obtaining error control in data transmission in which the source (transmitter) sends redundant data and the destination (receiver) recognizes only the portion of the data that contains no apparent errors.

  • fronthaul

    Fronthaul, also known as mobile fronthaul, is a term that refers to the fiber-based connection of the cloud radio access network (C-RAN), a new type of cellular network architecture of centralized baseband units (BBUs) and remote radio heads (RRHs) at the access layer of the network.

  • G

    geostationary satellite

    A geostationary satellite is an earth-orbiting satellite, placed at an altitude of approximately 35,800 kilometers (22,300 miles) directly over the equator, that revolves in the same direction the earth rotates (west to east)...

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)

    The GPS (Global Positioning System) is a 'constellation' of approximately 30 well-spaced satellites that orbit the Earth and make it possible for people with ground receivers to pinpoint their geographic location.

  • Google Android 4.4 KitKat

    Android 4.4 KitKat is a version of Google's operating system (OS) for smartphones and tablets.

  • Google Chrome browser

    Google Chrome browser is an open source program for accessing the World Wide Web and running Web-based applications.

  • Google Drive

    Google Drive is a free cloud-based storage service that enables users to store and access files online.

  • Google Firebase

    Google Firebase is a Google-backed application development software that enables developers to develop iOS, Android and Web apps.

  • Google Hangouts

    Google Hangouts is a unified communications service that allows members to initiate and participate in text, voice or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group.

  • Google Mobile Services (GMS)

    Google Mobile Services (GMS) is a collection of applications and API’s developed by Google that are available for Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

  • Google Play (Android Market)

    Google Play, formerly known as Android Market, is the official distribution storefront for Android applications and other digital media, such a music, movies and books, from Google.

  • GPRS (General Packet Radio Services)

    General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is a best-effort packet-switching protocol for wireless and cellular network communication services.

  • GSM (Global System for Mobile communication)

    GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) is a digital mobile network that is widely used by mobile phone users in Europe and other parts of the world.

  • H

    hertz

    Hertz is a unit of frequency (of change in state or cycle in a sound wave, alternating current, or other cyclical waveform) of one cycle per second.

  • HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)

    High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSPDA) is a packet-based mobile telephony protocol used in 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) radio networks to increase data capacity and speed up download rates.

  • HSPA (high speed packet access)

    HSPA (high speed packet access) is a third-generation (3G) mobile broadband communications technology.

  • HTML5 mobile app

    HTML5 mobile apps are developed through that version of the Web content standard. They enable cross-platform access without recoding.

  • I

    iCloud

    Apple's free iCloud service stores subscribers' photos, videos, documents, apps and more and updates everything across users' synced devices.

  • identity as a Service (IDaaS)

    Identity as a Service (IDaaS) is an authentication infrastructure that is built, hosted and managed by a third-party service provider.

  • instant app (Google Android instant app)

    A Google Android instant app is a small software program that enables end users to test out a portion of a native Android app without installing it on a device.

  • iOS developer kit

    The iOS software development kit (iOS SDK) is a collection of tools for the creation of apps for Apple’s mobile operating system.

  • iPad

    The iPad is a touchscreen tablet PC made by Apple.

  • iPad Air

    Apple’s iPad Air is an iOS tablet that is lighter and thinner than the company’s previous tablets.

  • iPhone

    The iPhone is a smartphone made by Apple that combines a computer, iPod, digital camera and cellular phone into one device with a touchscreen interface.

  • iPhone Configuration Utility

    The iPhone Configuration Utility is free software for Windows and Mac OS X that lets an administrator control how an iOS device works within an enterprise IT network.

  • IR wireless (infrared wireless)

    IR wireless is the use of wireless technology in devices or systems that convey data through infrared (IR) radiation.

  • L

    laptop computer

    A laptop computer, usually called a notebook computer by manufacturers, is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on airplanes, in libraries, temporary offices, and at meetings.

  • LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)

    LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is a software protocol for enabling anyone to locate data such as organizations, individuals and other resources such as files and devices in a network -- whether on the public internet or on a corporate intranet.

  • Lookout Mobile Security

    Lookout Mobile Security is an antimalware, data backup and remote management app for smartphones and tablets.

  • LTE (Long-Term Evolution)

    LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is a standard for 4G wireless technology that offers increased network capacity and speed for cellphones and other cellular devices compared with 3G.

  • LTE-Advanced (Long Term Evolution-Advanced)

    Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-Advanced) is a cellular networking standard that offers higher throughput than its predecessor, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard.

  • M

    m-commerce (mobile commerce)

    M-commerce (mobile commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets.

  • microblogging

    Microblogging is a short blog post designed for quick and typically direct audience interactions.

  • Microsoft HoloLens

    Microsoft HoloLens is a virtual reality (VR) headset with transparent lenses for an augmented reality experience.

  • Microsoft OneDrive

    OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is an online cloud storage service from Microsoft.

  • Microsoft Store

    The Microsoft Store -- formerly called the Windows Store -- is an online marketplace for consumers to buy and download a variety of items.

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