Rich mobile application

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A Rich Mobile Application (RMA) is a mobile application that inherits numerous properties from rich Internet applications and features several explicit properties, such as context awareness and ubiquity. RMAs are "energy efficient, multi-tier, online mobile applications originated from the convergence of mobile cloud computing, future web, and imminent communication technologies envisioning to deliver rich user experience via high functionality, immersive interaction, and crisp response in a secure wireless environment while enabling context-awareness, offline usability, portability, and data ubiquity".[1]

Mobile computing popularity[edit]

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have surpassed desktop computers in sales worldwide.[2] This has led to a direct increase in consumers of internet technologies using wireless technologies and mobile computing.

The use of mobile devices has become widespread in sectors such as healthcare, education, disaster recovery, transportation and tele-monitoring, revealing the need for mobile applications, especially RMAs.[3] Applications written following RMA principles can fulfill quality of service requirements for a range of users across these and other markets.[4]

Origins of RMAs[edit]

After successful deployment of rich Internet applications to desktop computers and the increasing popularity of mobile devices, researchers brought these enhanced RIA functionalities to the smartphone platform. NTT DoCoMo of Japan adopted Adobe Flash Lite in 2003 to enhance mobile applications' functionality. In 2008, Google brought Google Gears to Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices to support platform-neutral mobile applications in offline mode. Google Gears for mobile devices is a mobile browser extension for developing rich web applications. These applications can be executed inside the mobile device with a web browser regardless of the architecture, operating system and technology. In April 2008, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Silverlight mobile to develop engaging, interactive UIs for mobile devices. Silverlight is a .NET plug-in compatible with several mobile browsers that runs the Silverlight-enabled mobile apps. Android accommodated the Google Gear plug-in in the Google Chrome Lite browser to improve the interaction experience of Android end-users.

Rich Mobile Application vs Rich Internet Application[edit]

Although RMAs are derived from RIAs, there are fundamental dissimilarities between them, particularly task/layer distribution of application, interaction medium, screen size and layout, communication and networking mediums. The logic and data layers in RIAs are initially located in remote back-end servers and only the user interface is located inside the end-user's device. The fundamental principle in forming RIAs is to mitigate the server-side computing cost of the applications by exploiting the computing power of contemporary desktop computers at the user end. Parts of logic and data layers are transferred from the server node to the client node. The rich computing and storage resources in contemporary personal computers (PCs) reduce client-server networking traffic and delay, and shrink ownership and maintenance costs on the server side. This helps service providers reduce operating costs. In return, the end-user benefits from a crisp interaction response from the application since some part of the data and logic is stored in their local computer.

Another major difference between RMAs and RIAs is their communication medium. While an RIA uses wired communication as the major communication medium, RMAs transmit all of their data wirelessly.

Presentation and visualization capabilities differ between mobile devices and desktop computers as well. While desktop computers feature large screens and high graphical rendering capabilities, mobile devices feature very small screen and limited graphical rendering power.


  1. ^ Abolfazli, Saeid; Sanaei, Zohreh; Gani, Abdullah; Xia, Feng; Yang, Laurence T. (1 September 2013). "Rich Mobile Applications: Genesis, taxonomy, and open issues". Journal of Network and Computer Applications. doi:10.1016/j.jnca.2013.09.009. 
  2. ^ "Mary Meeker: Smartphones Will Surpass PC Shipments In Two Years". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Sanaei, Zohreh; Abolfazli, Saeid; Gani, Abdullah; Khokhar, Rashid Hafeez (May 2012). Tripod of Requirements in Horizontal Heterogeneous Mobile Cloud Computing (PDF). 1st International Conference on Computing, Information Systems and Communications (CISCO’12). WSEAS. ISBN 978-1-61804-092-3. 
  4. ^ Abolfazli, Saeid; Sanaei, Zohreh; Gani, Abdullah; Xia, Feng; Yang, Laurence T. (1 September 2013). "Rich Mobile Applications: Genesis, taxonomy, and open issues". Journal of Network and Computer Applications. doi:10.1016/j.jnca.2013.09.009.