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Summary:

VMware believes smartphones will be the next frontier in virtualization, as people want to use the same phone for work and play. But should handset makers focus on device virtualization or can such work-life balance on a handset be achieved via the cloud?

As smartphones proliferate and people attempt to use the same device for work and play, virtualizing the smartphone will become a necessity, according to Srinivas Krishnamurti, VMware’s head of mobile phone virtualization. Of particular focus, Krishnamurti told Computerworld, will be the ability to run multiple operating systems on a handset and to toggle between the two for work and personal use. As he put it:

“We don’t think dual booting will be good enough – we’ll allow you to run both profiles at the same time and be able to switch between them by clicking a button,” he said. “You’ll be able to get and make calls in either profile – work or home – as they will both be live at any given point in time.”

Startups such as VirtualLogix and HipLogic, which are also creating virtualization platforms for smartphones, undoubtedly agree, and as such may be acquisition targets for VMware. VirtualLogix can also virtualize telecommunications gear, cramming the functions of multiple boxes and routers into one.

VMware is arguing that a smartphone is becoming more like a PC, and will require virtualization in order to address security and management issues for the corporate world, while also enabling the personalization that employees demand from their mobile devices. However, with their almost ubiquitous wireless connections, smartphones are actually the perfect place to implement some kind of identity separation online — in the cloud. At that point perhaps device virtualization could be moot.

  1. Solution in search of a problem.

    Yes, that little slab in my pocket really IS a computer. Sure, as a geek I like the ability to push my technology further and further. But as Steve Jobs pointed out when the iPhone was first released (I use a Droid, by the way), who wants their telephone crashing all the time?

    It’s a phone. “There’s an app for that”. And while there will be people who do the virtualization-on-their-phone thing, it just isn’t important . . . and probably not the best idea.

    Next . . . !

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  2. one thing that i have never understood is that while the CDMA operators although never having marketed it offer the ability to use 2 NAMs on most phone models. but there are no phones that i know of that can support both NAMs active at the same time, you have to switch between the two. i am actually surprise that the carriers have not long pushed personally plans that can be added to an existing business handset and/or opposite.

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  3. In November 2008, VMware had acquired a competitor of VirtualLogix – Trango.

    http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/mvp.html

    There probably is too much duplicity in those solutions and/or VMware has moved ahead with the Trango solution to make the VirtualLogix solution moot.

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  4. [...] built into the Eagle core are pretty sweet. For those wondering, VMware, the original hypervisor, has an interest in virtualizing handsets, too. There’s also a lot of promise in using virtualization to take feature phones up a notch to [...]

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