Since the mid-1990s, mobile devices have gone through a dramatic shift from monolithic, single-purpose computers to general-purpose computing environments. The first-generation digital mobile phones were embedded systems with little room for third-party software. With the advent of J2ME in 1999 and BREW in 2001, the baseband processors on mobile phones started doing double duty as application processors for third-party software. For the first time, consumers could choose the applications to run on their phones.

The evolution of mobile devices from embedded systems to what we think of as modern computing platforms followed a well-worn path, described by Daniel P. Siewiorek, C. Gordon Bell, and Allen Newell in Computer Structures: Principles ...

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