Two years after the iPhone's™ introduction, Motorola and Verizon have announced the Droid ™ phone (based on Google’s open Android platform). The smart phone war is heating up. The rapid and widespread adoption of these devices is just the latest trend in ‘computing while moving’ and solidifies the small form-factor computer as a key driver of innovation.
The technological challenges for a mobile device are numerous. The power management and cost requirements typical for larger devices become even more stringent. These devices are also a major impetus behind the expansion of mobile broadband services. Power-friendly OS and code footprints are now the priorities for software developers. Mobility also brings with it new incarnations of the old computer security and signal interference problems. At conferences, research in the field of human interface design for mobile devices often steals the show. The iPhone Store ™ and Android Market ™ are full of interesting and innovative products sent in by programmers (including a few from our students).
At UCSC Extension, our engineering and technology curriculum covers mobile computing on several fronts. We have programming lab courses specifically for Android and iPhone ™ devices. We're introducing a new Mobile Linux course for application developers, as well as new embedded programming courses for internet devices and video streaming, each with hands-on, small-board projects. To help students enter this field, we also offer comprehensive foundational courses on wireless technology, networking stacks, Linux devices, wireless security and EMC design.