A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computing device small enough to hold and operate in the hand. Typically, any handheld computer device will have an LCD or OLED flatscreen interface, providing a touchscreen interface with digital buttons and keyboard or physical buttons along with a physical keyboard. Many such devices can connect to the Internet and interconnect with other devices such as car entertainment systems or headsets via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular networks or near field communication (NFC). Integrated cameras, digital media players, the ability to place and receive telephone calls, video games, and Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities are common. Power is typically provided by a lithium battery. Mobile devices may run mobile operating systems that allow third-party apps specialized for said capabilities to be installed and run.
Early smartphones were joined in the late 2000s by larger, but otherwise essentially the same, tablets. Input and output is now usually via a touch-screen interface. Phones/tablets and personal digital assistants may provide much of the functionality of a laptop/desktop computer but more conveniently, in addition to exclusive features. Enterprise digital assistants can provide additional business functionality such as integrated data capture via barcode, RFID and smart card readers. By 2010, mobile devices often contained sensors such as accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes, allowing detection of orientation and motion. Mobile devices may provide biometric user authentication such as face recognition or fingerprint recognition.
Device mobility can be viewed in the context of several dimensions:
Strictly speaking, many so-called mobile devices are not mobile. It is the host that is mobile, i.e., a mobile human host carries a non-mobile smartphone device. An example of a true mobile computing device, where the device itself is mobile, is a robot. Another example is an autonomous vehicle. There are three basic ways mobile devices can be physically bound to mobile hosts: accompanied, surface-mounted or embedded into the fabric of a host, e.g., an embedded controller embedded in a host device. Accompanied refers to an object being loosely bound and accompanying a mobile host, e.g., a smartphone can be carried in a bag or pocket but can easily be misplaced. Hence, mobile hosts with embedded devices such as an autonomous vehicle can appear larger than pocket-sized.
As stated earlier, the most common size of mobile computing device is pocket-sized that can be hand-held, but other sizes for mobile devices exist, too. Mark Weiser, known as the father of ubiquitous computing, computing everywhere, referred to device sizes that are tab-sized, pad and board sized, where tabs are defined as accompanied or wearable centimetre-sized devices, e.g. smartphones, and pads are defined as hand-held decimetre-sized devices, e.g., laptops. If one changes the form of the mobile devices in terms of being non-planar, one can also have skin devices and tiny dust-sized devices. Dust refers to miniaturised devices without direct HCI interfaces, e.g., micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), ranging from nanometres through micrometers to millimetres. See also Smart dust. Skin: fabrics based upon light emitting and conductive polymers and organic computer devices. These can be formed into more flexible non-planar display surfaces and products such as clothes and curtains, see OLED display. Also see smart device.
Although mobility is often regarded as synonymous with having wireless connectivity, these terms are different. Not all network access by mobile users, applications and devices need be via wireless networks and vice versa. Wireless access devices can be static and mobile users can move in between wired and wireless hotspots such as in Internet cafés. Some mobile devices can be used as mobile Internet devices to access the Internet while moving but they do not need to do this and many phone functions or applications are still operational even while disconnected to the Internet. What makes the mobile device unique compared to other technologies is the inherent flexibility in the hardware and also the software. Flexible applications include video chat, Web browsing, payment systems, NFC, audio recording etc. As mobile devices become ubiquitous there, will be a proliferation of services which include the use of the cloud. Although a common form of mobile device, a smartphone, has a display, another perhaps even more common form of smart computing device, the smart card, e.g., used as a bank card or travel card, does not have a display. This mobile device often has a CPU and memory but needs to connect, or be inserted into a reader in order to display its internal data or state.
There are many kinds of mobile devices, designed for different applications. This includes:
Handheld devices have become ruggedized for use in mobile field management. Uses include digitizing notes, sending and receiving invoices, asset management, recording signatures, managing parts, and scanning barcodes. In 2009, developments in mobile collaboration systems enabled the use of handheld devices that combine video, audio and on-screen drawing capabilities to enable multi-party conferencing in real-time, independent of location. Handheld computers are available in a variety of form factors, including smartphones on the low end, handheld PDAs, Ultra-Mobile PCs and Tablet PCs (Palm OS, WebOS). Users can watch television through Internet by IPTV on some mobile devices. Mobile television receivers have existed since the 1960s, and in the 21st century mobile phone providers began making television available on cellular phones. In the 2010s, mobile devices can sync and share many data despite the distance or specifications of said devices. In the medical field, mobile devices are quickly becoming essential tools for accessing clinical information such as drugs, treatment, even medical calculation. Due to the popularity of mobile gaming, the gambling industry started offering casino games on mobile devices, which in turn lead to inclusion of these devices in anti hazard legislature as devices that could potentially be used in illegal gambling. Other potentially illegal activities might include the use of mobile devices in distributing child pornography and the legal sex industry use of mobile apps and hardware to promote its activities, as well as the possibility of using mobile devices to perform trans-border services, which are all issues that need to be regulated. In the military, mobile devices have created new opportunities for the armed forces to deliver training and educational materials to soldiers, regardless of where they are stationed.
Alcatel (formerly Alcatel Mobile Phones and Alcatel OneTouch) is a French brand of mobile handsets owned by Finnish consumer electronics company Nokia and used under license by Chinese electronics company TCL Corporation. The Alcatel brand was licensed in 2005 by former French electronics and telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent to TCL for mobile phones and devices, and the current license expires at the end of 2024. Nokia acquired the assets of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016 and thus also inherited the licensing agreements for the Alcatel brand.Bring your own device
Bring your own device (BYOD)—also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own personal computer (BYOPC)—refers to the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as IT consumerization.BYOD is making significant inroads in the business world, with about 75% of employees in high-growth markets such as Brazil and Russia and 44% in developed markets already using their own technology at work. Surveys have indicated that businesses are unable to stop employees from bringing personal devices into the workplace. Research is divided on benefits. One survey shows around 95% of employees stating they use at least one personal device for work.Form factor (mobile phones)
The form factor of a mobile phone is its size, shape, and style, as well as the layout and position of its major components.Google Fit
Google Fit is a health-tracking platform developed by Google for the Android operating system and Wear OS. It is a single set of APIs that blends data from multiple apps and devices. Google Fit uses sensors in a user's activity tracker or mobile device to record physical fitness activities (such as walking or cycling), which are measured against the user's fitness goals to provide a comprehensive view of their fitness.Google Sync
Google Sync was a file synchronization service from Google that provided over-the-air synchronization of Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar with PC and mobile device Mail, Calendar and Address Book applications. It used Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® to let service users synchronize their Google Apps mail, contacts, and calendars to their mobile devices, wherein the users can also set up or customize the alerts for incoming messages and upcoming meetings. Google Sync worked with PC, Mac, Linux, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian S60, iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, and other devices. Google Sync was announced in February 2009 and discontinued for non-business users in December 2012.ITunes
iTunes () is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on January 9, 2001. It is used to play, download, and organize digital multimedia files, including music and video, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems. Content must be purchased through the iTunes Store, whereas iTunes is the software letting users manage their purchases.
The original and main focus of iTunes is music, with a library offering organization, collection, and storage of users' music collections. It can be used to rip songs from CDs, as well as play content with the use of dynamic, smart playlists. Options for sound optimizations exist, as well as ways to wirelessly share the iTunes library. In 2005, Apple expanded on the core features with video support, later also adding podcasts, e-books, and a section for managing mobile apps for Apple's iOS operating system, the last of which it discontinued in 2017.
The original iPhone smartphone required iTunes for activation and, until the release of iOS 5 in 2011, iTunes was required for installing software updates for the company's iOS devices. Newer iOS devices rely less on the iTunes software, though it can still be used for backup and restoration of phone contents, as well as for the transfer of files between a computer and individual iOS applications. iTunes has received significant criticism for a bloated user experience, with Apple adopting an all-encompassing feature-set in iTunes rather than sticking to its original music-based purpose.Mobile app
A mobile app or mobile application is a computer program or software application designed to run on a mobile device such as a phone/tablet or watch. Apps were originally intended for productivity assistance such as Email, calendar, and contact databases, but the public demand for apps caused rapid expansion into other areas such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, order-tracking, and ticket purchases, so that there are now millions of apps available. Apps are generally downloaded from application distribution platforms which are operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store. Some apps are free, and others have a price, with the profit being split between the application's creator and the distribution platform. Mobile applications often stand in contrast to desktop applications which are designed to run on desktop computers, and web applications which run in mobile web browsers rather than directly on the mobile device.
In 2009, technology columnist David Pogue said that newer smartphones could be nicknamed "app phones" to distinguish them from earlier less-sophisticated smartphones. The term "app", short for "software application", has since become very popular; in 2010, it was listed as "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society.Mobile application management
Mobile application management (MAM) describes software and services responsible for provisioning and controlling access to internally developed and commercially available mobile apps used in business settings on both company-provided and “bring your own” smartphones and tablet computers.
Mobile application management provides granular controls at the application level that enable administrators to manage and secure app data. MAM differs from mobile device management (MDM), which focuses on controlling the entire device and requires that users enroll their device and install a service agent.While some enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites include a MAM function, their capabilities may be limited in comparison to stand-alone MAM solutions because EMM suites require a device management profile in order to enable app management capabilities.Mobile commerce
The phrase mobile commerce was originally coined in 1997 by Kevin Duffey at the launch of the Global Mobile Commerce Forum, to mean "the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer’s hand, anywhere, via wireless technology." Many choose to think of Mobile Commerce as meaning "a retail outlet in your customer’s pocket."
Mobile commerce is worth US$230 billion, with Asia representing almost half of the market, and has been forecast to reach US$700 billion in 2017.Mobile device forensics
Mobile device forensics is a branch of digital forensics relating to recovery of digital evidence or data from a mobile device under forensically sound conditions. The phrase mobile device usually refers to mobile phones; however, it can also relate to any digital device that has both internal memory and communication ability, including PDA devices, GPS devices and tablet computers.
The use of mobile phones/devices in crime was widely recognised for some years, but the forensic study of mobile devices is a relatively new field, dating from the early 2000s and late 1990s. A proliferation of phones (particularly smartphones) and other digital devices on the consumer market caused a demand for forensic examination of the devices, which could not be met by existing computer forensics techniques.Mobile devices can be used to save several types of personal information such as contacts, photos, calendars and notes, SMS and MMS messages. Smartphones may additionally contain video, email, web browsing information, location information, and social networking messages and contacts.
There is growing need for mobile forensics due to several reasons and some of the prominent reasons are:
Use of mobile phones to store and transmit personal and corporate information
Use of mobile phones in online transactions
Law enforcement, criminals and mobile phone devicesMobile device forensics can be particularly challenging on a number of levels:Evidential and technical challenges exist. for example, cell site analysis following from the use of a mobile phone usage coverage, is not an exact science. Consequently, whilst it is possible to determine roughly the cell site zone from which a call was made or received, it is not yet possible to say with any degree of certainty, that a mobile phone call emanated from a specific location e.g. a residential address.
To remain competitive, original equipment manufacturers frequently change mobile phone form factors, operating system file structures, data storage, services, peripherals, and even pin connectors and cables. As a result, forensic examiners must use a different forensic process compared to computer forensics.
Storage capacity continues to grow thanks to demand for more powerful "mini computer" type devices.
Not only the types of data but also the way mobile devices are used constantly evolve.
Hibernation behaviour in which processes are suspended when the device is powered off or idle but at the same time, remaining active.As a result of these challenges, a wide variety of tools exist to extract evidence from mobile devices; no one tool or method can acquire all the evidence from all devices. It is therefore recommended that forensic examiners, especially those wishing to qualify as expert witnesses in court, undergo extensive training in order to understand how each tool and method acquires evidence; how it maintains standards for forensic soundness; and how it meets legal requirements such as the Daubert standard or Frye standard.Mobile device management
Mobile device management (MDM) is an industry term for the administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers and laptops. MDM is usually implemented with the use of a third party product that has management features for particular vendors of mobile devices.Mobile phone operator
A mobile phone operator, wireless provider, or carrier is a mobile telecommunications company that provides wireless Internet GSM services for mobile device users. The operator gives a SIM card to the customer who inserts it into the mobile device to gain access to the service.
There are two types of mobile operators:
a mobile network operator (MNO) which owns the underlying network and spectrum assets required to run the service.
a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which buys wholesale service from an MNO and sells on to its own customers.As of May 2016 (and for years before), the world's largest individual mobile operator by subscribers is China Mobile with over 835 million mobile subscribers. Over 50 mobile operators have over 10 million subscribers each, and over 150 mobile operators had at least one million subscribers by the end of 2009. In February 2010, there were 4.6 billion mobile subscribers, a number that is estimated to grow. Total mobile‐cellular subscriptions reached almost 6 billion by end 2011, corresponding to a global penetration of 86%.Mobile social address book
A mobile social address book is a phonebook on a mobile device that enables subscribers to build and grow their social networks. The mobile social address book transforms the phone book on any standard mobile phone into a social networking platform that makes it easier for subscribers to exchange contact information. The mobile social address book is the convergence of personal information management (PIM) and social networking on a mobile device. While standard mobile phonebooks force users to manually enter contacts, mobile social address books automate this process by enabling subscribers to exchange contact information following a call or SMS. The contact information exchange occurs instantaneously and the user's phonebook updates automatically. Mobile social address books also provide dynamic updates of contacts if their numbers change over time.Phantom vibration syndrome
Phantom vibration syndrome or phantom ringing syndrome is the perception that one's mobile phone is vibrating or ringing when it is not ringing. Other terms for this concept include ringxiety (a portmanteau of ring and anxiety), fauxcellarm (a portmanteau of "faux" /fō/ meaning "fake" or "false" and "cellphone" and "alarm" pronounced similarly to "false alarm") and phonetom (a portmanteau of phone and phantom). According to Dr. Michael Rothberg, the term is not a syndrome, but is better characterised as a tactile hallucination since the brain perceives a sensation that is not actually present. WebMD published an article on phantom vibration syndrome with Rothberg as a source. Several other articles have been published recently, including in NPR, Bustle, CBS News, and Psychology Today. Phantom ringing may be experienced while taking a shower, watching television, or using a noisy device. Humans are particularly sensitive to auditory tones between 1,000 and 6,000 hertz, and basic mobile phone ringtones often fall within this range. Phantom vibrations develop after carrying a cell phone set to use vibrating alerts. Researcher Michelle Drouin found that almost 9 of 10 undergraduates at her college experienced phantom vibrations.Sideloading
Sideloading is a term used mostly on the Internet, similar to "upload" and "download", but in reference to the process of transferring files between two local devices, in particular between a computer and a mobile device such as a mobile phone, smartphone, PDA, tablet, portable media player or e-reader.
Sideloading typically refers to media file transfer to a mobile device via USB, Bluetooth, WiFi or by writing to a memory card for insertion into the mobile device.
When referring to Android apps, "sideloading" typically means installing an application package in APK format onto an Android device. Such packages are usually downloaded from websites other than Google play, usually through a computer. Side loading of apps is only possible if the user has allowed "Unknown Sources" in their Security Settings.When referring to iOS apps, "sideloading" means installing an app in IPA format onto an Apple Device, usually through the use of a computer program such as Cydia Impactor  or Xcode or on the actual device using a Jailbreak method or using a signing service instead of through Apple's App Store. On modern versions of iOS, the sources of the apps must be trusted by both Apple and the user in "profiles and device management" in settings; except when using jailbreak methods of sideloading apps.Smart device
A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, LiFi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously. Several notable types of smart devices are smartphones, smart cars, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, smart locks, smart refrigerators, phablets and tablets, smartwatches, smart bands, smart key chains, smart speakers and others. The term can also refer to a device that exhibits some properties of ubiquitous computing, including—although not necessarily—artificial intelligence.
Smart devices can be designed to support a variety of form factors, a range of properties pertaining to ubiquitous computing and to be used in three main system environments: physical world, human-centered environments and distributed computing environments.Teashark
Teashark is a discontinued mobile browser. It worked in concert with the Teashark servers, which transcoded (and partly pre-rendered) websites before sending the results to the mobile device.Telephone number
A telephone number is a sequence of digits assigned to a fixed-line telephone subscriber station connected to a telephone line or to a wireless electronic telephony device, such as a radio telephone or a mobile telephone, or to other devices for data transmission via the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or other public and private networks.
A telephone number serves as an address for switching telephone calls using a system of destination code routing. Telephone numbers are entered or dialed by a calling party on the originating telephone set, which transmits the sequence of digits in the process of signaling to a telephone exchange. The exchange completes the call either to another locally connected subscriber or via the PSTN to the called party. Telephone numbers are assigned within the framework of a national or regional telephone numbering plan to subscribers by telephone service operators, which may be commercial entities, state-controlled administrations, or other telecommunication industry associations.
Telephone numbers were first used in 1879 in Lowell, Massachusetts, when they replaced the request for subscriber names by callers connecting to the switchboard operator. Over the course of telephone history, telephone numbers had various lengths and formats, and even included most letters of the alphabet in leading positions when telephone exchange names were in common use until the 1960s.
Telephone numbers are often dialed in conjunction with other signaling code sequences, such as vertical service codes, to invoke special telephone service features.Windows Mobile Device Center
Windows Mobile Device Center is a synchronization software program developed by Microsoft, and the successor to ActiveSync. It is designed to synchronize various content including music, video, contacts, calendar events, web browser favorites, and other files between Windows Mobile devices and the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Major mobile device companies
Companies with an annual revenue of over US$3 billion