Wireless mobile computing refers to any kind of computer hardware that may be taken by a user to a number of different locations without requiring the use of cables or wires to connect to a network. Some common examples of devices that use wireless mobile computing are laptops or notebook computers, smart phones that allow internet usage, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), which are small computers that often fit in the palms of users' hands. The typical device that uses this kind of computing can be thought of as having three primary components: software, communication, and hardware.
Software includes applications and features that are available on a wireless mobile computing device. For example, many of these devices either come with or may be used to download games, interactive programs, and even applications that provide users with the content of newspapers, books, and magazines. Many kinds of software have certain requirements, meaning that not all programs or applications may be used on all mobile devices. Likewise, most wireless mobile devices have limitations in regards to memory and compatibility.
Communication normally refers to capabilities such as Internet connectivity and phone usage. Common among wireless mobile computing devices is the capability to act as both a conventional telephone and as a device for accessing the Internet. In some cases, the device must be able to access a specific local network in order to be connected to the Internet. Other models may be on what are called "3G" or "4G" networks, which are wide-area telecommunications network that may be accessed from many locations and which may provide connectivity for phone and Internet use.
The hardware of a device that uses wireless mobile computing may be the phone, PDA, or computer that is handled by the user. Items such as earphones, keyboards, and other accessories are also considered to be hardware components. Users who take advantage of this kind of computing capability normally interact directly with the hardware, whereas other components, such as software and communication, are considered to be functions of the device.
Wireless mobile computing is used in a number of different contexts. Many consumers use their wireless mobile devices for entertainment and recreation by downloading or streaming games, movies, and television shows. From a business standpoint, this kind of computing is thought by many to increase productivity since it may allow users to communicate with colleagues and clients via email, telephone, and social networking sites and applications at any time and from almost any location. Some social theorists and critics believe that the ease of access to mobile computers may participate in changing the way many people think and behave, especially in social contexts.