This is the first in a series of articles to explain mobile Internet from the ground up. If your an expert mobile guru then this is probably not for you – sorry. If you have just seen PepsiCo US Possibilities Apps and want to learn the fundamentals then this is part 1 for you!
As mobile has it’s roots firmly planted in techno-soil there is an amount of geek speak to translate. So here is a mobile geek speak glossary of terms…
3G – is a network carrier technology that allows data (Internet access) to work on a mobile device at high speed (around 500Kbps) compared to previous GPRS technology. 3G only works where the network carriers such as AT&T, VodaPhone or O2 provide coverage.
4G- is a new network carrier technology which promises to offer wider coverage and faster speeds that 3G.
Android – This is the name of the Google owned mobile operating systems (OS). A mobile OS is the software that makes the phone work just like Mac OS X or Windows on a desktop computer. Android lets apps run on the mobile device. It is not a specific mobile device. Many manufactures have adopted the Android OS including HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung. Android is about 3 years old and now on verison 2.3 (code name Gingerbread). There are now more Android mobile devices in the USA than Apple iPhone.
App- is software downloaded from the Internet, normally from an AppStore/MarketPlace and installed on the smartphone. On modern mobiles this is very easy and a one touch action. On iPhone there are over 300,000 apps. Apps can be free or paid for. Apps typically make use of the mobile device hardware to offer a better user experience than a mobile website. This may be push notification, location services or saving content on the device.
AppStore – is an online shop provided by Apple for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad owners to browse, buy and download apps to run on their device. Some apps are free, others cost money. Last year 10 Billion apps were downloaded from AppStore worldwide. Users can search AppStore, it attracts significant search volume and people will be looking for you brand now in AppStore.
BlackBerry- The Blackberry smartphone has its heritage in mobile email. BlackBerry have their own version of AppStore.
Carrier- is the Telecom provider of the celluar network such as O2, VodaPhone, AT&T
FeaturePhone- is the term for simple mobile devices that do not allow Internet access or applications to be installed via the Internet.
Google Market Place- this is similar service to Apple AppStore. It provides Android mobile owners the ability to search, buy and download apps. Amazon have launched their own Android AppStore providing Android users choice of where to buy their apps. Google offer an open system that allows this, Apple do not.
GPRS – is a network carrier technology that allows data via mobile devices. This is pretty slow.
GPS- Global Positioning Sattelites, this is the technology in your cars sat nav system. Modern smartphones have GPS to offer new exciting applications. Social networks such as FourSquare use GPS so people can “check in” to a venue.
HTML- is the code used to layout web pages. Many mobiles now support full HTML, but most websites are not designed to be viewed on a small screen and are not user friendly on a mobile – even if they can be seen.
iPhone / iOS – iOS is the operating system that runs on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The current version of iOS is 4.3, recently released ready for the iPad 2. There have been more than 100 million iPhones sold worldwide.
Location Services- refers to GPS enables devices using the mobiles geographical position. For example checking in to FourSquare, or an app that provide taxi phone numbers local to you, or an app that draws a map and pinpoints where the owner (mobile) is on the map.
mSite- is a mobile optimised HTML website. They are typically one column and simple in design. They will normally have limited images and offer a subset of features compared to their big brother websites.
Push Notifications- normally refers to a feature offered by iOS but can be implemented on Android and Blackverry. Typically an App will offer alerts. The alerts will be delivered over the Internet to the mobile device. The experience for the mobile owner is very much like an SMS, however there is no SMS transactional charge for the sender.
RIM- is Research In Motion, the company that own Blackberry. The Blackberry device has its own OS.
Smartphone- typically refers to a mobile device that has Internet access and can download applications from the Internet. The opposite is Feature Phones.
Symbian – is Nokia’s discontinued operating system that runs many Nokia smartphones. Nokia have recently decided to join forces with Microsoft and adopt their Windows Phone 7 OS.
WAP- is old and out of date! It was early mobile web, very simple, no pictures (well not colour) and designed to operate over very slow Internet.
WiFi – is wireless Internet, typically hosted from a local coffee shop or in your home. WiFi is not normally long range and ideal for home users or businesses. WiFi is rated with a letter, the most recent and fastest is N rated, which offers very fast connectivity. WiFi is normally used when accessing broadband Internet connection.
I know that there are plenty more terms that could be defined, but these felt the main ones. If you would like me to add some terms just comment here and I will reply.