7.5 Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are increasingly being used in the workplace: in colleges, factories, hospitals and hotels where staff are kept on the move. Mobile platforms are important because three times as many people worldwide possess a mobile phone than own or use a PC (approx. 3 billion to 1 billion). In many parts of the developing world, mobile devices are the only way emerchants can reach their customers.

Models

Mobile devices differ from computers in that they:

1. Are lightweight portable instruments with more limited but easy-to-use functions.
2. Possess flash memories.
3. Employ different and still-evolving markup languages.

Mobile devices provide increasingly useful services:

1. Chat, advise, research, educate and sell products & services.
2. Send and receive email.
3. Obtain information from the Internet.
4. Play games.
5. Watch TV.
6. Send text messages and photo images.
7. Make to-do list.
8. Keep track of appointments.
9. Use a built-in calculator.
10. Operate a host of other functions through third-party applications.
11. Integrate PDAs, MP3 plays and GPS receivers.

Mobile devices come in thousands of different models, as a search of DeviceAtlas will show, but they are commonly grouped as follows:

1. Regular phones: lightweight, dedicated devices for making and receiving phone calls and text messages: can sometimes access the Internet via mobile browsers.
2. Smartphones: fully-featured, multipurpose, high-bandwidth, networked, multimodal, interactive and accessing the Internet.
3. Wireless-enabled devices: not strictly phones, but employing wireless connectivity: e.g. Apple iPod touch, Sony PlayStation 2, Amazon Kindle, various netbook and tablet computers.
4. Netbook and tablet computers: closer to laptops, but tablets in particular are often equipped with multi-touch screens and pen writing recognition abilities, and can display ebooks, video, and live TV.

Mobile phones contain 1. a circuit board with flash memory and processing chips, 2. an antenna, 3. a liquid crystal display, 4. keyboard, 5 a microphone, 6. a speaker and 7. battery. They may also employ one or more SIMs (Subscriber Identity Module), a tiny smart card that stores each customer's identity and other information, in some cases allowing the customer to switch between business and personal lines to a more complicated one offering mobile banking. Many include digital cameras.

Tablets

Larger than mobile phones are tablet computers, which use some of their operating systems. A few of an increasing number coming onto the market:

Model

Operating

System

Screen Size

Storage

Weight

Apple iPad

iPhone

OS 3.2

9.7 x 4.3"

16-64 Gb

1.5 lb

HP Slate

Windows 7

10"

32-64 Gb

-

JooJoo

JooJoo OS

12"

4 Gb

2.4 lb

Notion Ink Adam

Android

10"

16-32 Gb

1.7 lb

Toshiba iPad

Android

10"

-

-

Lenovo U1

Skylight Unix

11.6"

16 Gb

1.6 lb

Archos 9

Windows 7

7"

64 Gb

1.7

Dell Android

Android

10"

-

-

Within the operating systems are many variations that allow each device to be put to fullest use, but a broad comparison of the more popular is:

Operating

System

Smartphone

Synchron.

Multitasking

Adobe Flash

Support

Skype

Facebook

Chat

iOS

Yes

Yes

iSpring

Converter

Yes

Yes

Windows 7

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Android 3

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Android 4

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Blackberry

OS

No

No

No

Yes

No

Web OS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Questions

1. How do mobile phones differ from personal computers?
2. What functions do smart phones increasingly perform?
3. Describe the components of a mobile phone, and the functions they perform.
4. Describe some popular smart phone models and the operating systems they employ.

Sources and Further Reading

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