Virtualizing LG phone gives you two phone numbers on a phone you hate

LG, VMware partnership on 'bring your own device' plan fails mainly on the device

LG and VMware announced this morning a partnership they said would let LG phone customers have both a "work" phone and a "personal" phone in the same device -- without letting either conflict with the other.

For example, if you had an LG Star or Ally, you could fill up your own contact list, add your own apps, put on your own pictures and leave your security settings so lax data actually falls out of the phone every time you take it out of your pocket.

The IT staff -- who don't hate you or your phone, really, no matter what those facial expressions say -- can install VMware's virtual client on the phone and use it to create a completely separate operating system and security environment.

The result would be a phone you can use at home the way you want, then press a button or click a menu item and it would convert itself into a work phone that would keep all the company's data secure, give you access to all the best corporate applications and data from a device you pick yourself, let IT kill or disable it when you leave it in an airport bathroom.

And, if LG sold smartphones smart customers wanted to buy, it might even work.

Well, eventually it might work. Intel is trying to do something with its employees. Even with its resources and smarter-than-the-average-bear user population, it has had a long struggle even to get to the point that IT is offering guidance on which phone to buy, let alone picking which ones from one company that would work.

"LG's job is going to be to come up with handsets people want, which is going to be really hard," according to IDC analyst Ian Song. "If all you do is add an LG device to an approved-device list, there's absolutely no difference from having a bunch of Blackberries you hand out, not a Bring Your Own Device model."

LG is the third-largest phone vendor, but loses ground specifically in the market for smartphones and those running Android, according to IDC, both of which are critical in mobile business devices.

VMware did beat rival Citrix to the punch with at least the announcement of technology to virtualize Android phones, but didn't break much ground otherwise, Song said.

"Nokia's E71 and E72 phones have an option on the screen that will let you flip over and work from a different profile -- different security, settings, everything," Song said. "It's not as secure as virtualization, but whether consumers would realize that is arguable and it's still not really clear if people really want to have to keep two different mailboxes and contact lists and security. It's not clear they'll use it."

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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