Software is usually contained within an electronic device. But if it wasn't, would the device still function? That is the premise of a new study by market research firm ABI Research, that mobile devices will eventually rely on software found elsewhere in the network, gaining access to software commands by wireless connection. This wireless network approach would eliminate the need for different versions of software tools for each operating system.

The study, "Mobile Cloud Computing," projects that this use of "cloud computing" by remote access to system software could dramatically change the mobile application model by 2014, and deliver almost $20 billion in annual revenue by that time. According to the firm's Senior Analyst Mark Beccue, "Using Web development, applications can run on servers instead of locally, so handset requirements can be greatly reduced and developers can create just one version of an application. This trend is in its infancy today, but ABI Research believes that eventually it will become the prevailing model for mobile applications."