Mobile cloud computing is the use of cloud computing technology on a mobile device. Many applications, or apps, that run on a mobile device use data that is stored on a server or cluster of servers in the cloud. In fact, many mobile device users may not realize that several of their applications are not actually programs stored on the device itself but connections to programs running on remote servers. The mobile device merely receives the data and information that is calculated and sent from the remote server.
Several industries have benefited from the evolution of mobile devices and even more from mobile cloud computing. Some of these businesses include real estate, insurance, and surveying. Any company with employees who need to conduct business from off-site locations can benefit from mobile cloud computing, and compared to other methods of remote connection, mobile cloud computing removes many problems that would require an employee to work from a single location. E-mail is an excellent example of how mobile cloud computing allows greater mobility and flexibility. When a person can view, manage, and respond to e-mail without accessing an office network from a desktop or laptop computer at a main office or home computer, the company can experience significant gains in employee productivity.
There are many other examples of popular mobile cloud computing applications. Several companies provide mobile apps for the real estate industry, allowing prospective home buyers and real estate agents to use satellite GPS to locate houses that are for sale. As far as the mobile device is concerned, the app is little more than a connection to a program running on a remote server, being fed by data that is also stored on a remote server. Very little, if any, information is actually stored on the mobile device. Each time the user initiates a new search for a nearby house, the actual computation is performed on the remote server, and the mobile device simply displays information sent to the app from the cloud.
Mobile cloud computing can be restricted by connectivity issues, and various mobile phone providers claim to have stronger, more advanced networks and better coverage than others. In some cases, some types of mobile cloud computing are hindered by slow connections. Many mobile devices have wireless technology that allows the device to use faster wireless connections when they are available. Otherwise, the device is limited by the connection provided by the mobile device service provider.