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A Glossary of Essential Mobile Terms

Mobile development, like any other sub-field of IT, has lots of terms, which may be still obscure to you. Here we tried to select a number of terms, add our explanations to make a fun and informative read for you. Check the list so that nothing is missed.


An integrated part of a mobile device, which is used for motion sensing. It's done through measuring the force of acceleration, when the position of the device in space is being changed. Therefore it allows to implement the corresponding functionality. The examples everyone is acquainted with, is automatic switching between portrait and landscape modes on a mobile device, or measuring the speed of movement.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality = real-world/real-time environment, where computer-generated elements (such as image, video, sound and GPS data) are added to real-life objects. This concept is yet to see its finest hour, since lots of industries and spheres can benefit from AR, from commerce, navigation and medical industry to games and entertainment.


Back-end is a very broad term, which is used to describe the part of the software that's invisible for the end user. For example, the admin panel of a website can be described as back-end, since the access is limited and out of reach for a common user. The server side of software, the logic, also belong to back-end.

Cloud Storage

For a user, cloud storage is a service that offers unlimited amounts of memory, which can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. Users pay for certain amounts of storage they utilize, which are usually offered for monthly fees. All the problems that concern hosting, scaling and maintenance of servers, are left to the provider.

Content Management System (a.k.a. CMS)

Basically it's a piece of software which allows to manage the content of a website without having to spend lots of time writing HTML-code. There is an interface with an implemented workflow, which allows to configure web pages, and does not require programming skills from users. For example, it allows to run a blog, post articles, news, and manage comments.


The client part of the software, seen by the user and represented as an interface: an example can be any web page we look at, when browsing.


Expanding the functional possibilities of an iDevice in the way that's actively disliked by Apple (a jailbroken device immediately runs out of warranty). Jailbreak enables root access to the file system (instead of dealing with bundles). For users the main benefits are enabled customizability of iDevices, as well as access to the software not authorized by Apple (for example, from Cydia).

In-App Purchase / In-App Billing

In-app purchase is a means of iOS monetization, which can be implemented in apps in several ways. #1 - a user pays just once (for example, to buy the pro version of an app, to remove ads or unlock additional features). In case an app is reinstalled, the pro features can be redeemed for free. #2 - consumable purchases, when you can conduct them as many times as you wish (for example, used for selling in-game items in freemium games). #3 - subscriptions. Same goes for in-app billing, which does the same for Android.

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