The battle for enterprise smart phone supremacy is still young, but with any luck at all we're already seeing a potential end-game. A new set of "hints" indicate that VMWare, one of the foundations of the virtual computing world, has set its sights on smart phones as the next platform deserving a virtual future. Srinivas Krishnamurti, VMware’s head of mobile phone virtualisation opened up about the virtual smart phone future to Tim Lohman of ComputerWorld Australia, and the interview is most interesting.
I found out about the interview from a brief article on virtual smartphones at Gizmodo. The fact that it's in the Gizmodo queue could lead you to think that this is all about the consumer market, but I think that, like server and desktop virtualization, it will have the largest impact on enterprise IT departments.
I'll grant that there will be consumers who jump on this but, like so many lines around IT these days, the line between consumer mobile and enterprise mobile is getting awfully fuzzy these days. For the folks in the data center, though, a VMWare solution that made it easier to provide a single application image for whichever smart phone the individual wants to buy or choose would make life a lot easier. As security and vulnerability management issues become more critical for smart phones, solutions like the probable VMWare product (I'll throw in the caveat since it's not a fully-released product and we're in an industry that has had the occasional planned product that never really shipped) will be lifesavers for IT groups charged with making sure that The Bad Guys don't use smart phones as fast lanes into the enterprise data.
The biggest deal about this is that it's another big step toward treating smart phones as just another legitimate enterprise platform. Many companies are moving in that direction already, but others are waiting for the genre to mature -- and this is a real move in that direction.
I've got a list coming up of the top ten things I'm looking for in mobile enterprise for 2010. I'd love to see your list (or just individual items you think should be on mine). Let me know what you think -- and check back soon for the beginning of the list.