Multi-Device Mobile Platform for App Functionality Sharing

A team at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed ‘Mobile Plus,’ a mobile platform that can share the functionalities of applications between smart devices. This novel technology allows applications to easily share their functionalities without needing any modifications.

Users can securely log on to SNS accounts by using their personal devices.
Credit : KAIST

Case 1. Mr. Kim, an employee, logged on to his SNS account using a tablet PC at the airport while traveling overseas. However, a malicious virus was installed on the tablet PC and some photos posted on his SNS were deleted by someone else. 

Case 2. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are busy contacting credit card and game companies, because his son, who likes games, purchased a million dollars worth of game items using his smartphone. 

Case 3. Mr. Park, who enjoys games, bought a sensor-based racing game through his tablet PC. However, he could not enjoy the racing game on his tablet because it was not comfortable to tilt the device for game control. 

Parents can control impulse shopping of their children.
Credit : KAIST

The above cases are some of the various problems that can arise in modern society where diverse smart devices, including smartphones, exist. Recently, new technology has been developed to easily solve these problems. Professor Insik Shin from the School of Computing has developed ‘Mobile Plus,’ which is a mobile platform that can share the functionalities of applications between smart devices. 

This is a novel technology that allows applications to easily share their functionalities without needing any modifications. Smartphone users often use Facebook to log in to another SNS account like Instagram, or use a gallery app to post some photos on their SNS. These examples are possible, because the applications share their login and photo management functionalities. 

The functionality sharing enables users to utilize smartphones in various and convenient ways and allows app developers to easily create applications. However, current mobile platforms such as Android or iOS only support functionality sharing within a single mobile device. It is burdensome for both developers and users to share functionalities across devices because developers would need to create more complex applications and users would need to install the applications on each device. 

Users can enjoy games more and more by using the smartphone as a controller.
Credit : KAIST

To address this problem, Professor Shin’s research team developed platform technology to support functionality sharing between devices. The main concept is using virtualization to give the illusion that the applications running on separate devices are on a single device. They succeeded in this virtualization by extending a RPC (Remote Procedure Call) scheme to multi-device environments. 

This virtualization technology enables the existing applications to share their functionalities without needing any modifications, regardless of the type of applications. So users can now use them without additional purchases or updates. Mobile Plus can support hardware functionalities like cameras, microphones, and GPS as well as application functionalities such as logins, payments, and photo sharing. Its greatest advantage is its wide range of possible applications. 

Professor Shin said, “Mobile Plus is expected to have great synergy with smart home and smart car technologies. It can provide novel user experiences (UXs) so that users can easily utilize various applications of smart home/vehicle infotainment systems by using a smartphone as their hub.” 

This research was published at ACM MobiSys, an international conference on mobile computing that was hosted in the United States on June 21.