VMware to offer virtualization for mobile phones

By , IDG News Service |  Virtualization, cell phone, VMware

After targeting the market for virtualizing servers and clients, VMware has now set its sights on mobile phones, announcing Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) on Monday.

The company will work closely with mobile phone vendors to embed its virtualization technology directly onto mobile phones, as an extra layer that decouples the applications and data from the underlying hardware, according to Fredrik Sjöstedt, director of products for VMware in EMEA. VMware so far 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 virtualization will, for example, 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 enterprise secure, but at the same time end users can run anything they like on their personal profile, according to Sjöstedt.

Users will also be able to more easily move personal data and files -- including applications, pictures, videos, music and e-mail -- 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," said Sjöstedt.

The use of virtualization will also let 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 virtualization.

The platform is based on technology VMware acquired from Trango Virtual Processors in October, and has been optimized 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.

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