Devices and Operating Systems for Mobile Learning

Several electronic devices may be used in mobile learning. The most popular devices may be split into two major groups: tablets and smart phones.

Tablets are portable computers with input touch screen and a wireless internet connection. They and are very light and therefore portable. Some of these devices are: iPad (by apple), Galaxy (by Samsung), Nexus (by Google), Xperia (by Sony).

Smart phones are lighter and smaller. Some of the smart phone devices are:iPhone (by Apple), Samsung Galaxy (by Samsung), Nexus (by Google), Xperia (by Sony), LG (by LG Electronics)

Some of the main features to consider when buying mobile devices are:

  • Screen size:
    The average screen size of the smartphones is about 5 inches. While screen sizes for tablets can go up to 10.5 inches. The screen size needed depends on future applications anticipated.

  • Tablets and Smartphones Connectivity:
    Wi-Fi technology is built into all tablets currently on the market. This technology allows connection into a home wireless or public location (with WI-FI) that shares a network broadband internet connection.

    3G or "third generation" is a technology that provides high-speed data transfer to mobile devices. 4G is a similar technology with high rate of data transfer.

  • Operating Systems:
    Three major operating systems: iOs(apple), Android(Google), window 8(Microsoft) are used to control and operate mobile devices.

    • Apple iOS: All iPads run Apple’s iOS. There is a large numbers of Apps that run on these devices.

    • Google Android: Tablets made by Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, Sony and many other companies run on Google's Android operating system.

    • Microsoft Windows: is used in tablets made by Microsoft, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and many other companies.

  • Data Storage:
    Storage capacity of mobile devices are typically 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB. Depending on the use of the device and the need for data storage for apps and games, storage capacity may be extended if needed. Some tablets may have their storage capacity physically extended. However cloud-based storage such as Dropbox and Google drive allow you to store and access your files wirelessly anywhere adding extra flexibility to mobile learning.


1) Handbook of Mobile Learning, Berge Zane, Zane L. Berge, Lin Muilenburg Routledge, 2013.
2) Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers edited by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, John Traxler (google book)
3) The Evolution of Mobile Teaching and Learning edited by Retta Guy (google book)