Mobile computing is human–computer interaction in which a computer is expected to be transported during normal usage and allow for transmission of data, which can include voice and video transmissions. Mobile computing involves mobile communication, mobile hardware, and mobile software. Communication issues include ad hoc networks and infrastructure networks as well as communication properties, protocols, data formats, and concrete technologies. Hardware includes mobile devices or device components. Mobile software deals with the characteristics and requirements of mobile applications.
Some of the most common forms of mobile computing devices are as given below:
These classes are expected to endure and to complement each other, none replacing another completely.
Other types of mobile computers have been introduced since the 1990s, including the:
Many commercial and government field forces deploy a rugged portable computer with their fleet of vehicles. This requires the units to be anchored to the vehicle for driver safety, device security, and ergonomics. Rugged computers are rated for severe vibration associated with large service vehicles and off-road driving and the harsh environmental conditions of constant professional use such as in emergency medical services, fire, and public safety.
Other elements affecting function in the vehicle:
Main article: Mobile security
Mobile security has become increasingly important in mobile computing. It is of particular concern as it relates to the security of personal information now stored on the smartphone. Mobile applications might copy user data from these devices to a remote server without the users’ permission and often without the users’ consent. The user profiles automatically created in the cloud for smartphone users raise privacy concerns on all major platforms, in terms of, including, but not limited to, location tracking and personal data collection, regardless of user settings on the device.
More and more users and businesses use smartphones as a means of planning and organizing their work and private life. Within companies, these technologies are causing profound changes in the organization of information systems and therefore they have become the source of new risks. Indeed, smartphones collect and compile an increasing amount of sensitive information to which access must be controlled to protect the privacy of the user and the intellectual property of the company.
All smartphones are preferred targets of attacks. These attacks exploit weaknesses related to smartphones that can come from means of wireless telecommunication like WiFi networks and GSM. There are also attacks that exploit software vulnerabilities from both the web browser and operating system. Finally, there are forms of malicious software that rely on the weak knowledge of average users.
Different security counter-measures are being developed and applied to smartphones, from security in different layers of software to the dissemination of information to end-users. There are good practices to be observed at all levels, from design to use, through the development of operating systems, software layers, and downloadable apps.
Main articles: Mobile device and Portable computer
Several categories of portable computing devices can run on batteries but are not usually classified as laptops: portable computers, PDAs, ultra mobile PCs (UMPCs), tablets, and smartphones.
Boundaries that separate these categories are blurry at times. For example, the OQO UMPC is also a PDA-sized tablet PC; the Apple eMate had the clamshell form factor of a laptop but ran PDA software. The HP Omnibook line of laptops included some devices small enough to be called ultra mobile PCs. The hardware of the Nokia 770 internet tablet is essentially the same as that of a PDA such as the Zaurus 6000; the only reason it's not called a PDA is that it does not have PIM software. On the other hand, both the 770 and the Zaurus can run some desktop Linux software, usually with modifications.
Wireless data connections used in mobile computing take three general forms. Cellular data service uses technologies GSM, CDMA or GPRS, 3G networks such as W-CDMA, EDGE or CDMA2000. and more recently 4G and 5G networks. These networks are usually available within range of commercial cell towers. Wi-Fi connections offer higher performance, may be either on a private business network or accessed through public hotspots, and have a typical range of 100 feet indoors and up to 1000 feet outdoors. Satellite Internet access covers areas where cellular and Wi-Fi are not available and may be set up anywhere the user has a line of sight to the satellite's location, which for satellites in geostationary orbit means having an unobstructed view of the southern sky. Some enterprise deployments combine networks from multiple cellular networks or use a mix of cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite. When using a mix of networks, a mobile virtual private network (mobile VPN) not only handles the security concerns, but also performs the multiple network logins automatically and keeps the application connections alive to prevent crashes or data loss during network transitions or coverage loss.