The History of Mobile Computing

Niamh Madigan

Mobile computing is the culmination of a number of technological advances that have occurred in parallel. Key aspects that have led to the current explosion of mobile computing include general computing, user interface, display, communications, storage, battery, and culture.

I've collected some of the key milestones into the above timeline for consideration.

timeline-mobility_Adam Sivell.jpg

(Courtesy of Adam Sivell on Mobility)

Mobile computing is used when there is a need for computing power away from a desk or office environment. Initially this became evident in military and advanced transportation scenarios. For example when calculating ballistics in ships and submarines or to help carry out checklists on spacecraft. These days with mobile computing being ubiquitous everyone can use the power of mobile computers to assist with business and personal tasks.

Between the abacus and the pocket calculator there weren't a lot of leaps directly in mobile computing. However the complimentary technologies where falling into place to support the current mobile computing that we enjoy today. Also I find interesting that throughout the years inspiration in the form of science fiction predicted or prompted advances in technology. For example Star Trek is credited as inspiration for the development of the mobile phone. Famously the film a space odyssey 2001 was referenced in law suits in relation to the development of the tablet computer.

Now with growing power and sophistication mobile computing is often discussed in terms of being the new desktop or the new internet. For more thoughts on this and other topics please refer to my blog on the future of mobile computing.

Adam Sivell is an IT professional from Australia who has worked on over 30 SAP and mobile projects in his career. His blog contains his thoughts on enterprise mobility with a detailed view on current and future trends in mobile computing.

Read more of Adam Sivell's blogs at