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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  • B

    Box (Box.net)

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

  • breathalyzer cell phone (sobriety cell phone)

    A breathalyzer cell phone, also known as a sobriety cell phone, is a cellular telephone handset equipped with a built-in device for detecting the presence of ethyl alcohol vapor in the breath. ..(Continued)

  • 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.

  • BYOD policy

    A BYOD policy, or bring-your-own-device policy, is a set of rules governing a corporate IT department’s level of support for employee-owned PCs, smartphones and tablets.

  • 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

    cam

    A cam, homecam, or Webcam is a video camera, usually attached directly to a computer, whose current or latest image is requestable from a Web site.

  • 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.

  • CDMA One (cdmaOne or code-division multiple access one)

    Also see CDMA, WCDMA, and CDMA2000. CDMA One, also written cdmaOne, refers to the original ITU IS-95 (CDMA) wireless interface protocol that was first standardized in 1993. It is considered a second-generation (2G) mobile wireless technology.

  • CDMA2000 (IMT-CDMA Multi-Carrier or code-division multiple access 2000)

    CDMA2000, also known as IMT-CDMA Multi-Carrier or 1xRTT, is a code-division multiple access (CDMA) version of the IMT-2000 standard developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

  • cell

    In wireless telephony, a cell is the geographical area covered by a cellular telephone transmitter.

  • cell breathing

    Cell breathing is the constant change of the range of the geographical area covered by a cellular telephone transmitter based on the amount of traffic currently using that transmitter.

  • Cell of Origin (COO)

    Cell of Origin (COO) is a mobile positioning technique for finding a caller's cell (the basic geographical coverage unit of a cellular telephone system) location.

  • 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)

  • cellular telephone (mobile telephone)

    Cellular telephone, sometimes called mobile telephone, is a type of short-wave analog or digital telecommunication in which a subscriber has a wireless connection from a mobile telephone to a relatively nearby transmitter.

  • Centrino

    Centrino is a technology package from Intel that provides built-in wireless support for laptop computers while making it possible to run a laptop all day (up to seven hours) without a battery recharge.

  • chucking

    In computer and telephone use, chucking is the process of discarding a small piece of hardware by violent means, such as hurling it out a window, against a wall, or into a body of water.

  • churn (agitation or turnover)

    In a general context, churn is a synonym for agitation or turnover.

  • 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)

  • Compact HTML (CHTML)

    Compact HTML (CHTML or cHTML) is a subset of standard Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) adapted for use with small computing devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones, and smartphones.

  • Complementary Code Keying (CCK)

    Complementary Code Keying (CCK) is a modulation scheme used with wireless networks (WLANs) that employ the IEEE 802.11b specification.

  • 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.

  • corporate mobility policy

    A corporate mobility policy is a set of guidelines, established by a corporation, that govern the use and security of mobile devices such as smartphones, PDAs and tablets within the corporate network.

  • cross-platform mobile development

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

  • CSD (circuit switched data)

    Circuit switched data (CSD) was the original form of data transmission developed for TDMA-based networks, typically obtaining speeds up to 9.6 Kbps.

  • 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

    D-AMPS (Digital-Advanced Mobile Phone Service)

    D-AMPS (Digital-Advanced Mobile Phone Service), sometimes spelled DAMPS, is a digital version of AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service), the original analog standard for cellular telephone phone service in the United States.

  • datacard

    A datacard is any removable computer component, approximately the size of a credit card, that contains data, or that contains nonvolatile memory to which data can be written and from which data can be recovered.

  • decibels related to dipole antenna (dBd)

    dBd (decibels related to dipole antenna) is a measure of the gain of an antenna system relative to a dipole antenna at radio frequency.

  • Deep Space Network (DSN)

    The Deep Space Network (DSN) is a sophisticateddata communications system used by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in conjunction with manned and unmanned space missions.

  • device-agnostic (device agnosticism)

    Device agnostic is a description for computing components that work with various systems without requiring any special adaptations. 

  • digital audio broadcasting (DAB)

  • digital camera

    A digital camera records and stores photographic images in digital form.

  • digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB)

    Digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) is the process of multicasting by satellite or terrestrial services (or a combination of both) for reception by mobile and portable devices, particularly cell phones... (Continued)

  • digital pen

    A digital pen is a battery-operated writing instrument that allows the user to digitally capture a handwritten note or drawing.

  • Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB)

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

  • dipole antenna

    A dipole antenna is a straight electrical conductor measuring 1/2 wavelength from end to end and connected at the center to a radio-frequency (RF) feed line.

  • 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.

  • directional sound

    Directional sound is a technology that concentrates acoustic energy into a narrow beam so that it can be projected to a discrete area, much as a laser focuses light... (Continued)

  • disappearing e-mail

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

  • dish antenna

    A dish antenna, also known simply as a dish, is common in microwave systems.

  • 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.

  • DoCoMo (NTT DoCoMo)

    DoCoMo, also known as NTT DoCoMo, is a Japanese communications corporation that has introduced a line of cell phone sets that contain the equivalent of a digital smart card.

  • downlink and uplink

    These terms should not be confused with downstream and upstream.

  • drive-by spamming

    Drive-by spamming is a variation of drive-by hacking in which the perpetrators gain access to a vulnerable wireless local area network (WLAN) and use that access to send huge volumes of spam.

  • Dropbox

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

  • dual persona (mobile device management)

    Dual persona, in a mobile management context, is the provisioning and maintenance of two separate and independent end user environments on a single mobile device. Dual persona technology addresses one of the challenges of the bring your own device trend: how to exercise IT control over employees' personal devices without infringing on their right to privacy.

  • E

    E Ink (eInk)

    E Ink is an electronic device that is similar to a computer display, but with qualities that enable it to be used for applications such as eBooks, electronic newspapers, portable signs, and foldable, rollable displays.

  • e-paper (radio paper or electronic paper)

    E-paper (sometimes called radio paper or just electronic paper) is a portable, reusable storage and display medium that looks like paper but can be repeatedly written on (refreshed) - by electronic means - thousands or millions of times.

  • eBook

    An eBook is an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer or by using an eBook reader.

  • EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment)

    EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment) is a faster version of GSM designed to deliver data at rates up to 384 Kbps and enable the delivery of multimedia and other broadband applications to mobile phone and computer users.

  • EFSS (Enterprise file sync-and-share)

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

  • electromagnetic interference (EMI)

    EMI (electromagnetic interference) is the disruption of operation of an electronic device when it is in the vicinity of an electromagnetic field (EM field) in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum that is caused by another electronic device.

  • electronic ink

    Electronic ink is a liquid substance, in development at MIT's Media Lab in partnership with a company called E Ink, that responds to electrical impulses to enable changeable text and image displays on a flexible surface.

  • electronic newspaper

    An electronic newspaper is a self-contained, reusable, and refreshable version of a traditional newspaper that acquires and holds information electronically.

  • end user policy

    An end user policy is a set of directives that describes what actions employees must take -- or avoid -- in order to protect corporate assets

  • 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.

  • Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS)

    Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS) is an adaptation of the Short Message Service (SMS) that allows users to send and receive ring tones and operator logos, as well as combinations of simple media to and from EMS-compliant handsets.

  • enterprise app store (enterprise application store)

    An enterprise app store is a web portal through which end users can access, download and install corporate-approved software applications.

  • 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.

  • enterprise-mobile integration (EMI)

    Enterprise-mobile integration (EMI) is a form of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) that provides integration between communications carriers and enterprise networks... (Continued)

  • ESMR (Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio)

    Also see Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR).

  • EUTELSAT (European Telecommunications Satellite Organization)

    EUTELSAT (European Telecommunications Satellite Organization) refers to both the organization and its set of satellites that were placed in geostationary orbits over Europe beginning in 1983. By early 1998, at least 48 countries had become members of EUTELSAT and the satellites were serving both public and private traffic, including telephone services, fax, data, land mobile service, and television and radio programming to home and business users with their own receivers.

  • EV-DO (1x Evolution-Data Optimized)

    1x Evolution-Data Optimized, (EV-DO) is a 3G wireless radio broadband data standard. (...Continued)

  • Evernote

    Evernote is a cloud-based note-taking and file-storage application that synchronizes data across multiple devices.

  • 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)

  • feed line

    In a wireless communications or broadcasting antenna system, the feed line connects the antenna to the receiver, transmitter, or transceiver.

  • FeliCa

  • file sharing

    File sharing is the public or private sharing of computer data or space in a network with various levels of access privilege.

  • fixed wireless

    Fixed wireless refers to the operation of wireless devices or systems 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)

  • fixed-mobile substitution (FMS)

    Fixed-mobile substitution (FMS) is the tendency for consumers and businesses to increasingly substitute cellular telephones for hard-wired or cordless landline sets... (Continued)

  • flash mob

    A flash mob is a group of strangers who organize themselves, using electronic media such as cell phones or the Internet, to gather together in a public place, behave in a predetermined (and often silly) manner for a predetermined amount of time, and then quickly disperse... (Continued)

  • FlashMob supercomputer

    A FlashMob supercomputer is a group of computer enthusiasts who gather together in one physical location for a brief time period in order to function as a supercomputer and work on a single problem.

  • 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 connection of the C-RAN, a new type of cellular network architecture of centralized baseband units (BBU), at the access layer of the network to remote standalone radio heads at cell sites.

  • G

    Galileo

    Galileo is the informal name for the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), a system that will offer users anywhere in the world "near pinpoint" geographic positioning when it becomes fully operational by 2008. Designed to be interoperable with the other two such systems, the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), Galileo will enable a user to take a position from any combination of satellites with a single receiver.

  • gamer

    A gamer is a devoted player of electronic games, especially on machines especially designed for such games and, in a more recent trend, over the Internet.

  • Generic Access Network (GAN)

    The Generic Access Network (GAN) is an evolving wireless communications system in which mobile phone sets function seamlessly between local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs)... (Continued)

  • geolocation

    Geolocation is the detection of the physical location of an Internet connected computing device. As a noun, geolocation refers to the physical location itself; as a verb, the term refers to the process of detecting that location.

  • 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)

    Global Positioning System (GPS) technology enables the user, through approximately 30 well-spaced, earth-orbiting satellites, to pinpoint one's geographic location through ground receivers and mobile devices.

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