Mobile terms glossary

Here is a short glossary of common mobile terms:

Feature phones
Phones with browsers that cannot render standard web pages. Instead, they require a special page markup in order to render content. For example, this includes browsers that render only cHTML (iMode), WML, or XHTML-MP.
Mobile (noun)
"Mobile" or "mobile devices" refers to smartphones, such as devices running Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone. Their browser capabilities are similar to desktop computers, but with a significantly reduced viewing area, or viewport. These devices are able to run modern browsers that can render a broad set of the HTML5 specification.
Mobile (adjective)
Designed to be seen on a handheld device.
Mobile-friendly (adjective)
Usable on a mobile device (e.g. the site doesn't slow down the phone, doesn't scroll horizontally in a vertical orientation, doesn't use unavailable plugins like Flash). It's designed for the form factor of the device and its display.
Designed for a variety of different devices with different form factors – such as tablets, mobile phones and devices, desktops, and TVs, as well as different types of browsers.
Multimedia phones
Phones with browsers that are able to render pages coded to meet XHTML standards and that generally support HTML5 Markup, Javascript/ECMAscript but might not support some of the extension APIs in the HTML5 standard. This generally describes the browser in most 3G-ready phones that are not smartphones.
Responsive web design (RWD)
Approach to website design that serves the same HTML code on the same URL regardless of the users' device (desktop, tablet, mobile, non-visual browser), but can render the display differently (i.e., "respond") based on the screen size. RWD is Google's recommended approach.
Examples of tablets include the iPad, Nexus 7, and Galaxy Tab. We consider tablets as devices in their own class, so when we speak of mobile devices, we generally do not include tablets in the definition. Tablets tend to have larger screens, which means that unless you offer tablet-optimized content, you can assume that users expect to see your site as it would look on a desktop browser rather than on a smartphone browser.
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