Mobile computing over intelligent mobile is affecting human's habits of obtaining information over Internet, especially keyword search. Most of previous keyword search works are mainly focused on traditional web data sources, in which the performance can be improved by adding more computing power and/or building more offline-computed index. However, it is very challenging to apply the traditional keyword search methods to mobile web-based keyword search because mobile computing has many different features, e.g., frequent disconnections, variety of bandwidths, limited power of mobile devices, limited data size to be downloaded, etc. To address this challenge, in this paper we design an adaptive mobile-based XML keyword search approach, called XBridge-Mobile, that can derive the semantics of a keyword query and generate a set of effective structured patterns by analyzing the given keyword query and the schemas of XML data sources. Each structured pattern represents one of user's possible search intentions. The patterns will be firstly sent to the mobile client from web server. And then, the mobile client can select some interested patterns to load the results. By doing this, we can reduce the communication cost a lot between web server and mobile client because only the derived patterns and a few results need to be transferred, not all the keyword search results, by which we can save lots of expenses when the downloaded data is priced. In addition, we can economically maintain the frequent structured pattern queries in the mobile device, which can further reduce the expense of downloading data. At last, we analyze and propose a ranking function to measure the quality of keyword search results, design a set of algorithms to optimize mobile keyword search based on the maintained structured patterns, and present the experimental study of XBridge-Mobile with real XML datasets. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Wien.