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Newly christened HipLogic, which was formerly known as Numobiq, today launched a software development kit for its cell phone virtualization platform. The company’s product demo looks like several other mobile phone personalization efforts, but is actually a virtual machine running on top of the existing mobile operating system. The end goal, according to Mark Young, HipLogic’s CTO and founder, is to create applications that can truly interact with phones and each other, bringing the same level of functionality to millions of other phones as the iPhone has and the Android will.
So far, it’s hard to judge how successful the three-year-old HipLogic will be with its mission, but it raised $4.5 million last January from Benchmark Capital and has ported its Java-based virtual machine to the Windows, Linux, S60 and UIQ mobile operating systems (BREW and RIM will be next). Developers can write applications for the HipLogic virtual machine and have them run on any phones using those operating systems, provided the phone has the HipMobile virtual machine loaded on it.
Young says the company will announce applications as well as a download for consumers in the first quarter of next year. Until then he’s being tight-lipped about whether the company has signed any operators as customers, as well as who might offer content on the HipLogic platform.
Other companies intent on bringing virtualization to mobile phones include Adobe with its Flash efforts, Opera, and startup VirtualLogix. (Adobe with its Flash Lite efforts and Opera have similar designs using their own technologies.) Since virtualization helps make the more than 1 billion mobile phones out there that aren’t smartphones behave more like smartphones, it’s a promising area for consumers intent on getting more features, and carriers hoping for more data revenue.