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.

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  • M

    MIMO (multiple input, multiple output)

    MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) is an antenna technology for wireless communications in which multiple antennas are used at both the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver).

  • mobile application development platform (MADP)

    A mobile application development platform (MADP) is a type of software that allows a business to rapidly build, test and perhaps deploy mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.

  • Mobile Application Management (MAM)

    Mobile application management (MAM) is software that secures and enables IT control over enterprise applications on end users' corporate and personal smartphones and tablets.

  • mobile application processor

    A mobile application processor is a system on a chip (SoC) designed to support applications running in a mobile operating system environment such as Android, Apple iOS, Windows CE/Mobile or Symbian.

  • mobile computing

    Mobile computing refers to the set of IT technologies, products, services and operational strategies and procedures that enable end users to access computation, information and related resources and capabilities while mobile.

  • mobile device management (MDM)

    Mobile device management (MDM) is software that allows IT administrators to control, secure and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets and other endpoints.

  • mobile information management (MIM)

    Mobile information management (MIM) is a device-agnostic security strategy that involves keeping sensitive data encrypted and allowing only approved applications to access or transmit it.

  • Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6 or Mobile Internet Protocol version 6)

    Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6) is a protocol developed as a subset of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to support mobile connections.

  • mobile malware

    Mobile malware is malicious software specifically written to attack mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches.

  • mobile operating system

    A mobile operating system (OS) is software that allows smartphones, tablet PCs (personal computers) and other devices to run applications and programs.

  • mobile platform as a service (mPaaS)

    Mobile platform as a service (mPaaS) is a specialized type of PaaS designed to provide an integrated development environment (IDE), deployment platform, lifecycle management and analytics for mobile/web applications.

  • mobile printing

    Mobile printing is the process of sending data to a printer wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet.

  • mobile productivity app (mobile productivity application)

    A mobile productivity app is a software program that allows smartphone, tablet and wearable device users to perform essential day-to-day tasks.

  • mobile service provider

    A mobile service provider (MSP) is a company that offers mobile communication services to users of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs.

  • Mobile Threat Defense (MTD)

    Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) software is meant to protect organizations and individual users from security threats on mobile platforms.

  • mobile UI (mobile user interface)

    A mobile UI is the user interface on a mobile device, usually including a touch screen display and all the other elements of the device that allow the user to interact with it.

  • mobile workforce management (MWM)

    Mobile workforce management (MWM) is a category of software and related services used to manage employees working outside the company premises; the term is often used in reference to field teams.

  • MobileIron

    MobileIron is a company that provides management and security software for mobile apps, content and devices.

  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

    Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) - sometimes called Multimedia Messaging System - is a communications technology developed by 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) that allows users to exchange multimedia communications between capable mobile phones and other devices.

  • N

    NANDroid backup

    NANDroid backups are typically created by Android device owners who have gained root access to their phone’s operating system in order to use aftermarket distributions of the Android OS.

  • near-field communication (NFC)

    Near-field communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they're touched together or brought within a few centimeters of each other.

  • Nexus

    Nexus is a series of smartphones and tablets manufactured by Google and its hardware partners. Nexus devices run the native Android operating system.

  • notebook computer

    A notebook computer 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.

  • O

    Opera

    Opera is a Web browser that provides some advantages over the two most popular browsers from Netscape and Microsoft...(Continued)

  • OTA update (over-the-air update)

    An over-the-air (OTA) update is the wireless delivery of new software, firmware, or other data to mobile devices.

  • P

    personal area network (PAN)

    A personal area network (PAN) interconnects technology devices, typically within the range of a single user, which is approximately 10 meters or 33 feet.

  • personal digital assistant (PDA)

    Personal digital assistant is a term for a small, mobile, handheld device that provides computing and information storage and retrieval capabilities for personal or business use, often for keeping schedules, calendars and address book information handy.

  • push notification

    Push notification, also called server push notification, is the delivery of information from a software application to a computing device without a specific request from the client.

  • R

    real-time location system (RTLS)

    A real-time location system (RTLS) is one of a number of technologies used to pinpoint the current geographic position and location of a target.

  • remote wipe

    Remote wipe is a security feature that allows a network administrator or device owner to send a command that deletes data to a computing device.

  • resonance charging

    Resonance charging is a wireless charging method for items that require large amounts of power, such as an electric car, robot, vacuum cleaner or laptop computer. The method works over small distances (3-5 meters)... (Continued)

  • RMON (Remote Network Monitoring)

    RMON (Remote Network Monitoring) provides standard information that a network administrator can use to monitor, analyze, and troubleshoot a group of distributed local area networks (LANs) and interconnecting T-1/E-1 and T-2/E-3 lines from a central site.

  • roaming service

    Roaming service is the ability to get access to the Internet when away from home at the price of a local call or at a charge considerably less than the regular long-distance charges.

  • RPC over HTTP

    Remote Procedure Call over HTTP (RPC over HTTP) is a Microsoft protocol that enables Microsoft Outlook clients to access Microsoft Exchange servers over HTTP.

  • S

    Samsung Galaxy

    Samsung Galaxy is Samsung Electronics' flagship line of Android smartphones and tablets.

  • satellite

    A satellite is any object that orbits something else, as, for example, the Earth orbits the sun.

  • service set identifier (SSID)

    A service set identifier (SSID) is a sequence of characters that uniquely names a wireless local area network (WLAN)... (Continued)

  • Short Message Service (SMS)

    SMS (Short Message Service), commonly referred to as 'text messaging,' is a service for sending short messages of up to 160 characters (224 character limit if using a 5-bit mode) to mobile devices, including cellular phones, smartphones and tablets.

  • short message service center (SMSC)

    The short message service center (SMSC) is the portion of a mobile phone network that handles text message operations.

  • sideloading

    Sideloading is the installation of an application on a mobile device without using the device’s official application-distribution method.

  • SIM card

    A SIM card, also known as a subscriber identity module, is a smart card that stores identification information that pinpoints a smartphone to a specific mobile network.

  • Siri

    Siri is Apple's personal assistant for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS devices that uses voice recognition and is powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

  • smartphone

    A smartphone is a cellular telephone with an integrated computer and other features not originally associated with telephones, such as an operating system, web browsing and the ability to run software applications.

  • SMiShing (SMS phishing)

    SMiShing is a mobile phone security attack in which the user is tricked into downloading a Trojan horse, virus or other malware onto his phone. SMiShing is short for "SMS phishing." (Continued)

  • SMS gateway

    An SMS gateway is a website that allows users to send SMS messages from a web browser to people within the cell served by that gateway. An SMS gateway can also serve as an international gateway for users with roaming capability, allowing SMS communication away from the home network.

  • SMS spam (cell phone spam or short messaging service spam)

    SMS spam (sometimes called cell phone spam) is any junk message delivered to a mobile phone as text messaging through the Short Message Service (SMS). The practice is fairly rare in North America, but has been common in Japan for years. In 2001-2002, the systems at DoCoMo, the country's major service provider, were overcome by the volume of SMS spam, causing users' screens to freeze and spreading programs that caused the phones to dial emergency numbers.

  • Snapchat

    Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive 'self-destructing' photos and videos. Photos and videos taken with the app are called snaps.

  • SoLoMo (social, local and mobile)

    SoLoMo (social, local and mobile) is a term representing the convergence of collaborative, location-based and on-the-go technologies, primarily used for marketing and discovery purposes.

  • spectrum efficiency

    Spectrum efficiency describes the amount of data transmitted over a given spectrum or bandwidth with minimum transmission errors.

  • T

    tablet (tablet PC)

    A tablet is a wireless, portable personal computer with a touchscreen interface. The tablet form factor is typically smaller than a notebook computer, but larger than a smartphone.

  • telecommuting

    Telecommuting is an arrangement to work outside the traditional office or workplace, usually at home or in a mobile situation.

  • text messaging (texting or wireless messaging)

    Text messaging is the act of sending short, alphanumeric communications between cellphones, pagers or other hand-held devices, as implemented by a wireless carrier.

  • TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)

    TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) is an encryption protocol included as part of the IEEE 802.11i standard for wireless LANs (WLANs).

  • touch pad (touchpad)

    A touch pad is a device for pointing (controlling input positioning) on a computer display screen.

  • turnkey

    Turnkey is a product or service that is designed, supplied, built, or installed fully complete and ready to operate.

  • tvOS

    TvOS is the operating system that runs on the 4th and 5th generation Apple TV digital media player.

  • U

    UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service)

    UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) is a third-generation (3G) broadband, packet-based transmission of text, digitized voice, video, and multimedia at data rates up to 2 megabits per second (Mbps). UMTS offers a consistent set of services to mobile computer and phone users, no matter where they are located in the world. Based on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication standard, UMTS is endorsed by major standards bodies and manufacturers and is the planned standard for mobile users around the world.

  • unlocked cell phone

    An unlocked cell phone is a cellular telephone handset that can be used with more than one service provider, making it easy for a user to switch from one cellular network to another... (Continued)

  • unzipping

    Unzipping is the act of extracting the files from a zipped single file or similar file archive.

  • V

    virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI)

    Virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI) is a delivery platform which does not require an application or operating system (OS) to run locally on a mobile device.

  • VMware AirWatch

    VMware AirWatch is an enterprise mobility software provider based in Atlanta. AirWatch, a division of virtualization vendor VMware, provides technologies that help IT administrators deploy, secure and manage mobile devices, applications and data, as well as Windows 10 and Apple Mac computers.

  • VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal)

    VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is a satellite communications system that serves home and business users.

  • W

    war driving (access point mapping)

    War driving, also called access point mapping, is the act of locating and possibly exploiting connections to wireless local area networks while driving around a city or elsewhere.

  • wearable technology

    Wearable technology is any kind of electronic device designed to be worn on the user's body.

  • Web texting

    Web texting is two-way text messaging from the Web to a handheld mobile device, usually a cellular phone.

  • WhatsApp

    WhatsApp is a free cross-platform messaging service.

  • Wi-Fi (802.11x standard)

    Wi-Fi is the popular term for high-frequency wireless local area network (WLAN) technology and a standard that has gained acceptance in many companies as an alternative to a wired LAN.

  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

    Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a security standard for computing devices equipped with wireless internet connections.

  • Wi-Fi range extender (range expander)

    A Wi-Fi range extender, sometimes called a range expander, is a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of a wireless LAN. The device is situated in between a base router or access point and a client that is not close enough to receive acceptable service or one that is on the other side of a barrier.

  • wireless

    Wireless is a term used to define telecommunication and data transmission without wires.

  • wireless ad hoc network (WANET)

    A wireless ad hoc network (WANET) is a type of local area network (LAN) that is built spontaneously to enable two or more wireless devices to be connected to each other without requiring typical network infrastructure equipment, such as a wireless router or access point.

  • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

    Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a specification for a set of communication protocols to standardize the way wireless devices, such as mobile phones and radio transceivers, can be used for internet access, including email, the web, newsgroups and instant messaging.

  • wireless backhaul

    Wireless backhaul is the use of wireless communication systems to transport data between the internet and subnetworks.

  • wireless broadband (WiBB)

    Wireless broadband (WiBB) is high-speed internet and data service delivered through a wireless local area network (WLAN) or wireless wide area network (WWAN).

  • wireless charging

    Wireless charging is any of several methods of charging batteries without the use of cables. The three main methods of wireless charging are radio charging, resonance charging and inductive charging... (Continued)

  • wireless distribution system (WDS)

    A wireless distribution system (WDS) is a method of interconnecting access points (AP) in a wireless local area network (WLAN). WDS makes it possible to expand the network range without requiring that access points connect through a wired backbone.

  • wireless ISP (wireless Internet service provider or WISP)

    A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider (ISP) that allows subscribers to connect to a server at designated hot spots (access points) using a wireless connection such as Wi-Fi.

  • wireless point of sale (wireless POS or WPOS)

    Wireless point of sale (wireless POS or WPOS) is the use of wireless devices in retail establishments to facilitate payment for products or services... (Continued)

  • Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS)

    Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) is a security level for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), specifically for the applications that use WAP.

  • workstation

    A workstation is a computer intended for individual use that is faster and more capable than a personal computer.

  • WPAN (wireless personal area network)

    A WPAN (wireless personal area network) is a personal area network - a network for interconnecting devices centered around an individual person's workspace - in which the connections are wireless.

  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync

    Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync is a synchronization protocol that enables users of mobile devices to access email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from their organization's Microsoft Exchange server.

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