What is Mobile Computing

More often, the term Mobile Computing is understood as the technology used with smartphones. The smartphone technology is a part of mobile computing but, this topic is little broader than that. This article provides an introduction to the topic Mobile Computing.

What is Mobile Computing

Mobile Computing is the technology used for transmitting voice and data through small, portable devices using wireless enabled networks.

What is a Mobile Computing System

Mobile Computing System is a distributed system, which is connected via a wireless network for communication. The clients or the nodes possess mobility and the ability to provide computing at anytime, anywhere.

Below are few examples where mobile computing is in use.

  • Online delivery systems associated with credit card verification.
  • Taxi/cab services operated via smartphones and mobile apps.
  • Location-aware mobile services used to transmit weather and road conditions.
  • Social media applications and e-mail access via smartphones.
  • Smart wearable devices which are used to measure and record medical/health conditions of individuals.

Main Components of a Mobile Computing System

A mobile computing system consists of the following components.

Mobile Hardware

Mobile Hardware is a small and portable computing device with the ability to retrieve and process data. Smartphones, handheld and wearable devices fall under mobile hardware. These devices typically have an Operating System (OS) embedded in them and able to run application software on top of it. These devices are equipped with sensors, full-duplex data transmission and have the ability to operate on wireless networks such as IR, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

What is Mobile Computing - 1

Mobile Software 

Mobile Software is the software program which is developed specifically to be run on mobile hardware.  This is usually the operating system in mobile devices. These operating systems provide features such as touchscreen, cellular connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS mobile navigation, camera, video camera, speech recognition, voice recorder, music player, near field communication and sensors. The device sensors and other hardware components can be accessed via the OS.

Mobile Communication 

Mobile Communication refers to the exchange of data and voice using existing wireless networks. The data being transferred are the applications including File Transfer (FT), the interconnection between Wide-Area-Networks (WAN), facsimile (fax), electronic mail, access to the internet and the World Wide Web. The wireless networks utilized in communication are IR, Bluetooth, W-LANs, Cellular, W-Packet Data networks and satellite communication system. It is the mobile communication infrastructure which takes care of seamless and reliable communication between mobile devices.  What is Mobile Computing

Principles of Mobile Computing

The following factors have been identified as the Principles of Mobile Computing.


Devices/nodes connected within the mobile computing system should facilitate mobility. These devices may have limited device capabilities and limited power supply, but should have a sufficient processing capability and physical portability to operate in a movable environment.


This defines the Quality of Service (QoS) of the network connectivity. In a mobile computing system, the network availability is expected to be maintained at a high level with the minimal amount of lag/downtime without being affected by the mobility of the connected nodes.


The nodes belonging to a mobile computing system are connected with one another to communicate and collaborate through active transactions of data.  


A portable device or a mobile node connected to a mobile network often denote an individual; a mobile computing system should be able to adopt the technology to cater the individual needs and also to obtain contextual information of each node.

About the Author: Isha

Isha is a Senior Software Engineer, currently working for a global software development and service company. She has contributed in design and development of commercial mobile applications for over 4 years. She works as a freelance writer to fulfill her passion as a writer, so that she can share her knowledge, ideas and findings with others of similar interest.