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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  • S

    Short Message Service (SMS)

    SMS (Short Message Service) is a service for sending short messages of up to 160 characters (224 characters if using a 5-bit mode) to mobile devices, including cell phones, smart phones and PDAs... (Continued)

  • short message service center (SMSC)

    A short message service center (SMSC) is the portion of a wireless network that handles SMS operations, such as routing, forwarding and storing incoming text messages on their way to desired endpoints...(Continued)

  • 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.

  • SIMO (single input, multiple output)

    SIMO (single input, multiple output) is an antenna technology for wireless communications in which multiple antennas are used at the destination (receiver).

  • single stream 802.11n

    Single-stream 802.11n takes advantage of the fact that the second draft of the 802.11n specification does not require the number of antennas on the sending station to be equal to the number on the receiving station.

  • 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).

  • SISO (single input, single output)

    SISO (single input, single output) refers to a wireless communications system in which one antenna is used at the source (transmitter) and one antenna is used at the destination (receiver).

  • Small Office Home Office (SOHO)

    In information technology, SOHO is a term for the small office or home office environment and business culture.

  • smart antenna

    A smart antenna is a digital wireless communications antenna system that takes advantage of diversity effect at the source (transmitter), the destination (receiver), or both.

  • Smart Display

    Smart Display is a wireless touch screen display device in development at Microsoft.

  • 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.

  • sniff subrating

    Sniff subrating is a Bluetooth feature designed to increase battery life as much as 500 percent for devices whose typical usage involves a significant amount of inactive time... (Continued)

  • social collaboration

    Social collaboration is work that is carried out by more than one person. The term is also used to describe communication tools that help employees to work together.

  • Socialcast

    Socialcast is an enterprise social networking and collaboration platform by VMware.

  • soft handoff

    In cellular telephone communication, soft handoff refers to the overlapping of repeater coverage zones, so that every cell phone set is always well within range of at least one repeater (also called a base station).

  • solar fade (sun interference)

    Solar fade, also called sun interference, is a phenomenon that occurs in satellite communications on certain occasions when the downlink signal is aligned with the sun's position and it is overcome by signal noise from the sun.

  • 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.

  • SoMoClo (social, mobile and cloud)

    SoMoClo (social, mobile and cloud) is the convergence of collaborative, on-the-go technologies that allow users to access data and applications from anywhere at any time.

  • Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR)

    Also see Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (ESMR).

  • spectrum efficiency

    Spectrum efficiency is the optimized use of spectrum or bandwidth so that the maximum amount of data can be transmitted with the fewest transmission errors.

  • Splashtop

    Splashtop is a vendor that sells remote connection software which lets users access their PCs or Macs from other computing devices.

  • Square (Square Register, Square Wallet)

    Square is a mobile payment startup co-founded in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Square’s first product, Square Register, allows registered members to accept debit and credit card payments on mobile devices by using the Square Reader, a small card-swipe dongle that plugs into the device's audio jack.

  • Stratellite

    A Stratellite is a rigid framed airship that hovers in a fixed position in the lower stratosphere and carries one or more repeaters to create wireless communication networks. (Continued...)

  • stylus

    A stylus (pronounced STAI-luhs, from the Latin stilus or "stake") is an instrument for writing and, in computers, an input device used to write text or draw lines on a surface as input to a computer.

  • Sugar

    Sugar is a graphical user interface GUI developed for the $100 laptop (XO)... (Continued)

  • SWAN (Structured Wireless-Aware Network)

    SWAN (Structured Wireless-Aware Network) is a technology that incorporates a wireless local area network (wireless LAN or WLAN) into a wired wide-area network.

  • swirl

  • 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.

  • TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access)

    TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) is a mobile telephone standard for wireless network operators who want to move from a second generation (2G) wireless network to a third-generation (3G) one. Supporting data transmission at speeds up to 2 Mbps, TD-SCDMA combines support for both circuit-switched data, such as speech or video, and also packet-switched data from the Internet.

  • telecommuting

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

  • TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio)

    TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is a set of standards developed by the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI) that describes a common mobile radio communications infrastructure throughout Europe.

  • 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.

  • text-to-speech (TTS)

    Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of speech synthesis application that is used to create a spoken sound version of the text in a computer document, such as a help file or a Web page.

  • 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).

  • toothing (Bluetoothing)

    Toothing (sometimes called Bluetoothing) is the practice of contacting strangers via a Bluetooth wireless connection to flirt.

  • 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.

  • two-way pager

    A two-way pager is a pager that allows you to send data as well as receive it.

  • U

    ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC or Ultra-mobile PC)

    Ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a design specification for a hand-held computer that is larger than a PDA but smaller than a laptop. (Continued...)

  • 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.

  • unified messaging (unified messaging system or UMS)

    Unified messaging (sometimes referred to as the unified messaging system or UMS) is the handling of voice, fax, and regular text messages as objects in a single mailbox that a user can access either with a regular e-mail client or by telephone.

  • unified network management

    Unified network management is the administration of both wired and wireless networks through a single interface.

  • Universal Windows app

    A Universal Windows app is a software program that uses the Windows 8 or Windows 10 codebase and runs the same way on PCs, Windows tablets and smartphones.

  • 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.

  • upgrade

    In computers, an upgrade is a new version of or addition to a hardware or, more often, software product that is already installed or in use.

  • V

    Veepers

    Veepers is a product that is used to animate digital images of people (or other creatures) for video presentations in which the characters appear to talk.

  • Virtual Home Environment (VHE)

    In mobile computing, the Virtual Home Environment (VHE) is the concept that a network supporting mobile users should provide them the same computing environment on the road that they have in their home or corporate computing environment.

  • 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.

  • VMware AirWatch Secure Content Locker

    VMware's Secure Content Locker is a tool within the company's AirWatch mobile device management product suite that enables secure data access and collaboration for on-site and remote workers.

  • VMware Horizon Application Manager

    VMware Horizon Application Manager, also known as Horizon App Manager, is an enterprise service for managing access to software. With VMware Horizon Application Manager, employees can use any Internet-capable device to access applications through a secure web portal.  

  • VMware Horizon Mobile

    VMware Horizon Mobile is mobile virtualization and application wrapping software that lets IT administrators control corporate data and applications on end users' smartphones and tablets.

  • VMware Horizon Suite

    VMware Horizon Suite is a collection of products and technologies designed to help information technology (IT) administrators deliver desktops and applications and secure data on a variety of endpoint devices.

  • VMware Horizon Workspace

    VMware Horizon Workspace is enterprise mobility management software that creates a central repository where users can access corporate data, applications and virtual desktops from a variety of endpoint devices.

  • VMware Project AppShift

    VMware Project AppShift is technology designed to improve the experience of using virtualized Windows and its applications on non-Windows tablets.

  • VMware Unity Touch

    VMware Unity Touch is software that offers a touch-based interface for navigating folders and launching applications when running Windows in a virtual machine on a smartphone or tablet.

  • voice portal (vortal)

    A voice portal (sometimes called a vortal) is a Web portal that can be accessed entirely by voice.

  • VoWLAN (Voice over WLAN)

    VoWLAN (Voice over WLAN) is a method of sending voice information in digital form over a wireless broadband network. The technology is sometimes called "VoWi-Fi" or "Wi-Fi VoIP" because it uses the IEEE 802.11 set of specifications (informally known as "Wi-Fi") for transporting data over wireless local area networks and the Internet. Essentially, VoWLAN is VoIP delivered through wireless technology.

  • VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal)

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

  • W

    W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access)

    Also see CDMA, CDMA One, and CDMA2000. W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access), an ITU standard derived from Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA), is officially known as IMT-2000 direct spread.

  • WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)

    WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is a specification for a set of communication protocols to standardize the way that wireless devices, such as cellular telephones and radio transceivers, can be used for Internet access.

  • 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.

  • warchalking (war chalking)

    Warchalking is a grass roots effort to create a standard iconography for public Wi-Fi access.

  • watchdog timer (WDT)

    A watchdog timer (WDT) is a device or electronic card that performs a specific operation after a certain period of time if something goes wrong with an electronic system and the system does not recover on its own.

  • WAX (Wireless Abstract XML)

    Wireless Abstract XML (WAX) is an abstract markup language and associated tools that facilitate wireless application development.

  • 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 Messenger is a cross-platform instant messaging application that allows iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia smartphone users to exchange text, image, video and audio messages for free. 

  • whip antenna

    A whip antenna is a single-element antenna that can be used with anunbalanced feed line such as coaxial cable,or attached directly to a wirelesstransmitter, receiver, or transceiver.

  • 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 users of computing devices equipped with wireless internet connections, or Wi-Fi.

  • 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.

  • Wibree (Baby Bluetooth)

    Wibree, also called Baby Bluetooth, is a low-power wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that facilitates interoperability among mobile and portable consumer devices such as pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), wireless computer peripherals, entertainment devices and medical equipment... (Continued)

  • WiDEN (Wideband Integrated Digital Enhanced Network)

    WiDEN (Wideband Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) is an upgraded version of iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network), a wireless communications technology originally developed by Motorola in 1993 and deployed by Nextel in 1996 to combine the capabilities of digital cellular telephone, two-way radio, alphanumeric pager and data/fax modem in a single network... (Continued)

  • Windows Live SkyDrive

    Windows Live SkyDrive is a free online file storage system from Microsoft.

  • Windows Phone

    x

  • Windows Phone 7

    Windows Phone 7 is a Microsoft operating system for smartphones.

  • Windows Store

    Windows Store is the online marketplace for Windows 8 and Windows RT users to purchase and download apps.

  • wireless

    Wireless is a term used to describe telecommunications in which electromagnetic waves (rather than some form of wire) carry the signal over part or all of the communication path.

  • 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 a central device, such as a router or access point.

  • wireless application service provider (WASP)

    WASP is also an acronym for the Web Standards Project.

  • wireless backhaul

    Wireless backhaul is the use of wireless communications systems to get data from an end user to a node in a major network such as the Internet or the proprietary network of a large business, academic institution or government agency... (Continued)

  • Wireless Bitmap (WBMP)

    A Wireless Bitmap (WBMP) is a graphic image format for use when sending Web content to handheld wireless devices.

  • wireless broadband (WiBB)

    Wireless broadband is high-speed Internet and data service delivered through a wireless local area network (WLAN) or 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 LAN (WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network)

    A wireless LAN is one in which a mobile user can connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless (radio) connection.

  • Wireless Markup Language (WML)

    WML (Wireless Markup Language), formerly called HDML (Handheld Devices Markup Languages), is a language that allows the text portions of Web pages to be presented on cellular telephones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) via wireless access.

  • wireless number portability

    Wireless number portability is the ability of a mobile customer to retain the same phone number when they switch carriers; wireline-to-wireless number portability allows customers to switch from their landline telephone service to a wireless provider while retaining the same telephone number.

  • 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 router

    A wireless router is a device in a WLAN (wireless local area network) that determines the next network point to which a packet should be forwarded toward its destination. A wireless router works in the same way as the router in a hard-wired home or business LAN (local area network), but allows greater mobility for notebook or portable computers.

  • wireless service provider (WSP)

    A wireless service provider (WSP) is a company that offers transmission services to users of wireless devices (handheld computers and telephones) through radio frequency (RF) signals rather than through end-to-end wire communication.

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