What is the difference between Mobile and Portable?

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Bunny

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Very helpful - Not. LOL

I recall once during a medical device design meeting that this was a hot topic and we ended up choosing to use the term portable. But I can't recall the details.
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Just a guess, but how about:

Mobile - I can use it while driving

Portable - I can roll around the device between rooms
Yeah - I pretty much agree.
mobile can be used on the move
portable can be moved but not in use while being moved.

think of a portajohn - Wouldn't want to use one as a mobilejohn, would you?
:mg:
 

Miner

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Admin
#6
When all else fails, try the dictionary:

Mobile: 1: capable of moving or being moved; 5: marked by the use of vehicles for transportation

Portable: 1a : capable of being carried or moved about; 1c : usable on many computers with little or no modification

Mobile and Portable are also listed as synonyms for each other.

Portable seems to imply that it can be carried by a person. The Latin origin meant to carry.

Mobile simply means movable, by whatever means necessary. The Latin origin simply means to move. Extremes are a mobile phone, which can be carried to a mobile rocket launcher or M.A.S.H. unit (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital), which require trucks to move.

So portable always meant mobile, but mobile did not always mean portable. However, modern usage tends to get sloppy, so there may no longer be a true distinction.
 
Last edited:

Ajit Basrur

Staff member
Admin
#8
More specifically, I was wondering if there were medical / regulatory definitions or guidance available.
As per Mobile Mammography Unit (Definition)

Mobile Mammography Unit means a mammography x-ray unit located in a vehicle (truck, van, etc.) that is driven from one location to another to perform mammography. These units may be fixed in a vehicle such as a van or a truck, or may be portable (i.e., can be wheeled-off the van and moved into a site). Mobile units usually go to locations where patients would not normally get mammograms. Note: many stationary facilities have mammography units that are equipped with wheels so they can be easily moved from one room to another. Such units are not considered mobile mammography units.
 
M

MIREGMGR

#9
More specifically, I was wondering if there were medical / regulatory definitions or guidance available.
From IEC 60601-1:2005:

3.65 "Mobile": term referring to TRANSPORTABLE equipment intended to be moved from one location to another while supported by its own wheels or equivalent means.

3.85 "Portable": term referring to TRANSPORTABLE equipment intended to be moved from one location to another while being carried by one or more persons.
 
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