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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    2-in-1 tablet (hybrid tablet, convertible tablet)

    A 2-in-1 tablet, also known as a hybrid or convertible tablet, is a tablet PC that also functions as a notebook

  • 2D barcode (two-dimensional barcode)

    A 2D (two-dimensional) barcode is a graphical image that stores information both horizontally -- as one-dimensional bar codes do -- and vertically. As a result of that construction, 2D codes can store up to 7,089 characters, significantly greater storage than is possible with the 20-character capacity of a unidimensional barcode.

  • 3G card

    A 3G card is a modem that allows a computing device to access the Internet wirelessly through a cellular provider's 3G network.

  • 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.

  • 802.11h

    The 802.11h specification is an addition to the 802.11 family of standards for wireless local area networks (WLANs). 802.11h is intended to resolve interference issues introduced by the use of 802.11a in some locations, particularly with military radar systems.

  • 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.

  • 802.15

    802.15 is a communications specification that was approved in early 2002 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) for wireless personal area networks (WPANs).

  • 802.16c

    802.16c is a set of clarifications and updates to the 102.16 family of wireless communications specifications for metropolitan area networks (MANs).

  • 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...)

  • Alpha TransForm (Alpha Software)

    Alpha TransForm is a mobile app development and deployment platform that allows developers and individuals to build and deploy mobile apps that can be integrated into enterprise workflows.

  • 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.

  • Amazon Kindle Touch

    The Amazon Kindle Touch is an e-reader that sports a 6”, multi-touch display that users can manipulate to input commands.

  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb

    Android 3.0 Honeycomb is a mobile operating system owned by Google and designed specifically for tablet PCs.

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)

    Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is a version of Google’s mobile operating system.

  • Android 9 Pie

    Android 9 Pie is the most recent version of Google’s mobile operating system.

  • Android Beam

    Android Beam is a Near Field Communication implementation that allows two Android mobile devices to transfer data between each other.

  • 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 refactoring (application refactoring)

    App refactoring is the restructuring of existing computer code to improve its performance, readability, portability or code adherence without changing the code's intended functions.

  • 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.

  • AppBlast (Project AppBlast)

    AppBlast is a VMware initiative that allows users to access their Windows and Mac applications from any device running an HTML 5 browser.

  • 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 AirPlay

    Apple AirPlay is a content streaming and interactive display control feature that is integrated in Mac OS, iOS and Apple TV as well as a number of Apple devices, including AirPlay-enabled speakers.

  • Apple AirPrint

    Apple AirPrint is an iOS feature that lets users print documents and other files from their iPhones and iPads.

  • 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 Configurator

    Apple Configurator is a free Mac OS X tool for configuring and deploying iOS devices in the enterprise by using a physical USB connection.

  • 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 iWork

    Apple iWork is a productivity software suite for computers and mobile devices running Mac OS X and iOS operating systems (OSes).

  • Apple Joint Venture

    Apple Joint Venture is an IT support and training service geared toward small and midsized businesses.

  • Apple Live Photos

    Apple Live Photos, first available on the iPhone 6s, turn pictures into short videos by capturing movement and sound in the seconds before and after a user takes a photo.

  • Apple Managed Open In

    Apple Managed Open In is a security feature released in the Apple iOS 7 mobile operating system that allows IT to configure which applications employees can use to access data.

  • Apple OS X Mavericks

    Apple OS X Mavericks is version 10.9 of the second-generation Macintosh computer operating system.

  • Apple Pay

    Apple Pay is a contactless mobile financial transactions service developed for Apple devices.

  • Apple Pencil

    Apple Pencil is a stylus for Apple's iPad Pro tablet. Sold separately from the iPad, the Pencil is able to pinpoint a single pixel on the touchscreen, allowing users to select icons more easily and draw within apps with much finer detail than they could with their finger.

  • Apple Smart Keyboard

    Apple's Smart Keyboard is a detachable, full-size, text input device designed for the iPad Pro. Its conductive material means the keyboard never has to be charged, and it can be unfolded to function also as a protective cover.

  • Apple Touch ID

    Apple Touch ID is biometric technology that provides iOS user identification through a finger scanner.

  • 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 Volume Purchase Program (Apple VPP)

    The Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) is a service that allows organizations to buy iOS apps for their end users.

  • 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.

  • Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (Apple WWDC)

    The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is Apple Inc.'s annual multi-day training event for iOS and Mac OS X software developers.

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)

    Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) is a set of freely downloadable program utilities and related documents from Microsoft for ensuring compatibility among application programs in Windows operating systems, especially in a large network environment.

  • application sandboxing

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

  • Aruba's Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE)

    Aruba’s Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) is a network architecture that provides a unified process for wired, wireless and remote access for users on both company-owned and employee-owned devices.

  • AT&T Toggle

    Toggle is an AT&T service that allows a smartphone owner to create separate personal and business environments on the same mobile device.

  • 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.

  • AWS Device Farm

    AWS Device Farm is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) mobile app testing service for Android or Fire OS-based devices.

  • 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

    BitPim

    BitPim is a cross-platform, open source application for managing data on cell phones that use the CDMA mobile telephony protocol. BitPim can be used to back up data stored on a phone and synchronize contacts and calendars... (Continued)

  • BlackBerry 10

    BlackBerry 10 is a mobile operating system from Research in Motion. BlackBerry 10 will be based on technology developed by QNX Software Systems, which RIM acquired in 2010.

  • BlackBerry Balance

    BlackBerry Balance is a feature of BlackBerry Enterprise Server that allows IT administrators to deploy, secure and remove specific applications and data on BlackBerry smartphones.

  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)

    BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is a middleware program that allows BlackBerry devices to access corporate messaging and collaboration software such as Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise.

  • BlackBerry Hub

    BlackBerry Hub is a BlackBerry 10 application that lets users access and respond to emails, text messages and social network activity.

  • Blackberry Secure Work Space

    BlackBerry Secure Work Space is an option for BlackBerrry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 that allows administrators to secure and manage non-BlackBerry devices through the BES management console.

  • BlackBerry World

    BlackBerry World is the official app store for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets.

  • bluesnarfing

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

  • Bluetooth

    Bluetooth technology allows computers, mobile devices and accessories to easily interconnect with each other. A Bluetooth connection is wireless and works over a short range.

  • Bluetooth 4.0

    Bluetooth 4.0 is a version of the Bluetooth wireless networking standard that consumes less power than its predecessors.

  • Bluetooth brick

    A Bluetooth brick is a battery-powered, sealed device that has sensors for monitoring and communicating information such as temperature or vibration levels.

  • Box (Box.net)

    Box is an online file-sharing, storage and collaboration service provider that caters to individual users as well as businesses.

  • BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless)

    BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is Qualcomm's open source application development platform for wireless devices equipped for code division multiple access (CDMA) technology.

  • bring your own everything (BYOx)

    Bring your own everything (BYOx) is a term that refers to employees' use of personal technology to perform work tasks.

  • Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)

    The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is an initiative within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created to promote the development and adoption of broadband throughout the United States, particularly in unserved and underserved areas. BTOP, which will disburse $4.7 billion in a number of categories, is expected to create jobs, advance technology and boost the economy.

  • BYOT (bring your own technology)

    Bring your own technology (BYOT) is a policy that allows employees or students to use their own personal electronic devices at work or scho

  • 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.

  • cell phone jammer

    A cell phone jammer is a device that blocks transmission or reception of signals, usually by creating some form of interference at the same frequency ranges that cell phones use... (Continued)

  • Cisco Borderless Networks

    Cisco Borderless Networks is the brand name for a set of hardware and software technologies which allow "anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device" to connect to an organization's network.

  • Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a network administration product that enables the creation and enforcement of security and access policies for endpoint devices connected to the company’s routers and switches.

  • Citrix Worx

    Citrix Worx is a line of certified mobile applications for the enterprise. Security, policy and provisioning for Worx apps are controlled by Citrix XenMobile.

  • Citrix XenMobile

    Citrix XenMobile is mobile management software that provides mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM) and cloud file-sharing capabilities.

  • cloud drive

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

  • cloudbook

    A cloudbook is a thin client notebook computer with a browser operating system (OS) and interface.

  • CloudOn

    CloudOn is a web-based collaboration tool that allows users to open, review and edit Microsoft Office documents on any computing device that has a Google Chrome or Apple Safari browser.

  • coaxial antenna

    A coaxial antenna is a variant of the dipole antenna, designed for use with an unbalanced feed line.

  • 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.

  • consumer device

    Consumer device is an industry term for Internet-capable mobile computers that are marketed to individuals, not businesses.

  • consumerization of IT

    IT consumerization is the blending of personal and business use of technology devices and applications. Gartner traced the trend to the dot-com collapse, when enterprise IT budgets shrank and many IT vendors shifted focus to the potentially bigger consumer IT markets. The result has been a change in the way technology enters the marketplace.

  • consumerization policy

    A consumerization policy is a documented set of practices for managing the use of consumer devices and technologies within a given organization. A consumerization policy defines acceptable use.

  • contextual computing

    Contextual computing, also called context-aware computing, is the use of software and hardware to automatically collect and analyze data about a device's surroundings in order to present relevant, actionable information to the end user.

  • convertible tablet

    A convertible tablet is a computer that can function as either a standalone touch screen device or as a notebook with a physical keyboard.

  • 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.

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