After targeting the market for virtualising servers and clients, VMware has now set its sights on mobile phones, announcing its Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) last week.
The company will work closely with mobile phone vendors to embed its virtualisation technology directly onto mobile phones, as an extra layer that decouples the applications and data from the underlying hardware, says Fredrik Sjöstedt, director of products for VMware in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So far, VMware is keeping the names of vendors it is working with under wraps.
It aims to have the first phones available by the end of next year or the beginning of 2010, according to Sjöstedt.
Enterprise users who pick a phone with embedded support for virtualisation will be able to run multiple operating systems or multiple profiles — for example, one for personal use and one for work use — on the same phone.
The IT department will able to set up one profile that follows all the policies necessary to keep the organisation secure, but at the same time, end-users can run anything they like on their personal profile, Sjöstedt says.
Users will also be able to more easily move personal data and files — including applications, pictures, videos, music and email — to a new device, making the upgrade to a new phone less painful.
Part of the VMware plan is to make mobile phones just another part of its management infrastructure, no different than a server or a PC. "Without management everything falls flat," Sjöstedt says.
The use of virtualisation will also let mobile phone vendors add new software faster than before, according to VMware.
They can use the same software stack, including operating system and applications, on a wide variety of phones without having to worry about the underlying hardware differences, according to VMware. That is, of course, for the phones that support virtualisation.
The platform is based on technology VMware recently acquired from Trango Virtual Processors, and has been optimised to run efficiently on low power-consuming and memory-constrained mobile phones.
Supported operating systems today include Windows CE, Symbian and Linux, according to VMware.