LAS VEGAS — VMware plans to bring mobile virtualization to tablets.
That’s the word from Hoofar Razavi, VMware’s mobile product management director, who met with me here at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Smartphones were a logical first step for mobile virtualization, because they’re so much more pervasive than tablets, Razavi said. But extending mobile virtualization to tablets is a “logical transition,” he said.
VMware Horizon Mobile uses a hypervisor to create an encrypted, IT-controlled work environment on users’ smartphones. The technology has not yet hit the market, but LG said yesterday that it should be on some of its phones within a few months.
The big issue for VMware mobile virtualization on tablets, as on smartphones, will be OS and device support. For now, Horizon Mobile will be available only on Android smartphones made by LG or Samsung and running on either the Verizon Wireless or Telefonica networks. Not having iOS support is a pretty big deal in the smartphone market, but it’s a much bigger deal in the tablet market, where the iPad has such a commanding lead.]]>
By Julia Anderson and Colin Steele, Editors
Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the three days after its launch, the company reported. AT&T and Sprint also reported record sales on the first day their customers could purchase the iPhone 4S in stores.
More than 25 million devices are now running iOS 5, the latest iPhone, iPod touch and iPad operating system, Apple said. In addition, more than 20 million people have signed up for iCloud, Apple’s new cloud storage service. Both iOS 5 and iCloud debuted just last week.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuts
With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is unifying its smartphone and tablet operating systems.
The current smartphone-specific OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the tablet OS is Android 3.0 Honeycomb. But Android 4.0 is designed to run on both kinds of devices, which should quiet some of the complaints about Android device fragmentation.
Ice Cream Sandwich features a new user interface, with separate home screen tabs for apps and widgets. There’s also improved management of notifications and application-level controls over data usage. And for business users, the OS offers new security and VPN APIs.
Google and Samsung showed off Android 4.0 at a media event in Hong Kong this week. The OS is expected to be available on devices next month.
RIM launches BBX, immediately sued
BBX, the next-generation operating system for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, debuted at this week’s BlackBerry DevCon Americas conference.
BBX combines the traditional BlackBerry OS with QNX, an operating system Research in Motion (RIM) acquired last year. RIM was short on details about BBX, but the company did say the OS would make it easier to develop richer, more interactive “super apps” for BlackBerry devices.
Talk about potential BBX features was short-lived, however, because the day after the launch, a software company called BASIS filed legal action against RIM over the BBX name. It turns out BASIS has its own operating system called BBx, and RIM’s announcement caused “great confusion” for BASIS users, the company said.
The lukewarm reception to BBX, last week’s BlackBerry outage and the continued success of iOS and Android devices have at least one blogger wondering whether RIM should give up on BlackBerry entirely.
Motorola, Verizon unveil Droid RAZR
The new Droid RAZR will be the world’s thinnest LTE-capable smartphone, Motorola and Verizon Wireless said this week.
Despite its 7.1mm waist line, the latest in Motorola’s line of Android smartphones has a similar look to other Droid models. But it boasts a Kevlar fiber casing designed to “withstand the back-pocket test,” Motorola said.
The Droid RAZR runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Motorola has also included support for its MotoCast application, which streams content between PCs and mobile devices. Business users will have access to corporate email, the ability to view and edit Word documents, and Citrix Receiver for remote application access.
Pre-orders for the Droid RAZR start Oct. 27, and it’s scheduled to be available in stores in November.
Photo (cc) by Denise Cross and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.]]>
VMware is finally bringing mobile virtualization to market, but it’s far from a slam-dunk solution to bring-your-own-device problems.
The VMware Horizon Mobile service will become available on Verizon Wireless smartphones within months, the companies said at VMworld Europe this week. Horizon Mobile is designed to keep corporate data and applications segregated and protected on personal smartphones, but issues around device compatibility and management may hamper IT adoption, experts said.
For one, Horizon Mobile will be available only on Android devices.
“You need more device and more OS support to make [mobile virtualization] valid at an enterprise level,” said Brian Katz, director of mobility at a major pharmaceutical company.
How Horizon Mobile works
Horizon Mobile relies on the Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP), a mobile phone hypervisor that VMware introduced in 2008. MVP creates two environments on the same smartphone — one for personal use and one for business. IT administrators can monitor, secure and deploy applications to the business environment using the VMware Horizon Mobile Manager portal.
But Horizon Mobile Manager creates Android images that admins must manage. That may be a turn off in some IT shops, because it creates a lot of overhead, Katz said.
Mobile virtualization on Android only: ‘A messy situation’
VMware has said it’s working on bringing MVP to the iPhone, but Apple has shown no inclination (at least publicly) to allow mobile virtualization on iOS. If mobile virtualization ultimately solves bring-your-own-device (BYOD) issues, this lack of iOS support will be a roadblock, because not all end users are Android owners.
“It’s kind of a messy situation,” said Ben Schorr, CEO of Roland Schorr and Tower, an IT consultancy based in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Mobile virtualization isn’t even necessary on the iPhone or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. Unlike Android smartphones, those devices have monitored app stores, and the applications come with a certain level of security, said Wes Miller, research analyst with Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based consulting firm. Miller pointed out that one of the biggest complaints about iOS — its lack of multitasking capabilities — is actually an asset when it comes to security.
“The applications are incredibly sandboxed, and … that is a great security solution, even though it limits the productivity of apps,” he said. “[Mobile virtualization] is an incredibly high-charged security approach, and that’s great, but the fatal flaw is that you’re having to consider this, on Android, because the platform itself is intrinsically not secure.”
Mobile virtualization: One aspect of BYOD?
It’s not an overall BYOD option, but Horizon Mobile can help IT get more control over end users accessing corporate data and applications on Android smartphones, Schorr said.
“If you don’t give the end users what they want, they find ways to get around it,” he said. “Mobile virtualization is going to be a solution if for no other reason than to placate those users.”
Katz agreed that mobile virtualization does have some valuable uses, such as for specific projects where every employee has the same device. But overall, it’s better to try to manage all mobile devices with as few tools as possible, he said.
“Do you handle your Android devices one way, do you handle your iOS devices another way, do you handle your Windows Phone devices a third way, or do you try to find a solution to best unite all three?” he said.
Horizon Mobile device details
LG Electronics will be the first manufacturer to offer Horizon Mobile on its Verizon Wireless devices. VMware also has a mobile virtualization deal with Samsung and is working with Google to add MVP to the Android kernel.
At the conference, VMware also disclosed a Horizon Mobile partnership with Telefonica, a wireless carrier that does business in Spain, Latin America and South America.]]>
As the bring-your-own device phenomenon grows, so do the options for separating personal and business communications on the same device.
Desktop virtualization delivers self-contained business operating systems and applications to smartphones and tablets. Technologies such as VMware’s Mobile Virtualization Platform and AT&T’s Toggle let users essentially keep two phones — one for business use, one for personal use — on the same device. And with a new release from ShoreTel, employees can securely tap into their companies’ unified communications (UC) systems from their mobile devices.
“We’re starting to see a lot of interest in companies that want to make the mobile device the primary method of communication,” said analyst Irwin Lazar, a vice president at Nemertes Research.
ShoreTel focuses on mobile unified communications
Announced this week, the latest version of ShoreTel Mobility aims to provide user-friendly mobile unified communications access. An employee downloads an app, which integrates with his or her phone’s existing dialer and contact list, and IT then provisions that device for access to the UC system.
When the employee calls a personal contact, the phone makes the call as usual. But when the employee calls a business contact, ShoreTel Mobility kicks in — automatically connecting to the VPN if outside the corporate firewall — and the user has access to the company’s full UC features.
“It makes it a lot easier to use,” Lazar said. “From a user perspective, it’s just like any other app.”
As with any bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative, device support is a major factor in whether a new project will succeed or not. ShoreTel Mobility supports 12 Android devices running version 2.1 or higher, Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, plus the latest BlackBerry OS 6 devices.
“Most of our customers used to be focused on the BlackBerry … and as Android and iPhone got more popular, this whole bring-your-own-device phenomenon got its legs and took off,” said Pejman Roshan, ShoreTel’s vice president of mobility.
ShoreTel Mobility also connects to all leading PBX systems in addition to ShoreTel’s, including those from Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Microsoft.
“A lot of [other vendors] have a fairly limited number of mobile devices that they’ll support, and it brings it back into their own portfolio,” said Frank Stinson, partner and senior analyst with Intellicom Analytics. “It’s not supporting the bring-your-own-device thing as well as [ShoreTel].”
The ShoreTel Mobility app does not store any data locally on users’ devices, so IT admins can de-provision employees without wiping out the personal data on their phones — a common complaint among users.
“They can containerize the app, knock out the app, put a poison pill in the app, whatever you want to call it, and not take out the whole device,” Roshan said.
Mobile and desktop virtualization options
ShoreTel Mobility is focused on keeping personal and business phone calls separate, but other approaches pay more attention to data and apps.
VMware and Verizon Wireless will announce this week they are partnering to offer personal and business segregation on smartphones, according to IDG News Service. They will presumably use VMware’s Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP), a smartphone hypervisor that allows multiple operating systems to run on the same device — in effect creating isolated environments that users can switch between based on the tasks they need to perform.
Also this week, AT&T announced Toggle, a similar feature based on technology from Enterproid, whose Divide platform lets users create secure enterprise profiles to access on their personal smartphones.
A major problem with VMware MVP and AT&T Toggle is that, as of now, they only run on Android devices, said Mike Sapien, principal analyst with Ovum.
“Multiple platforms, multiple operating systems, multiple devices is a lot more friendly for the users,” he said.
Their go-to-market strategies may also cause issues for IT admins, who are looking to make their jobs easier, not harder, Stinson said.
“ShoreTel’s selling to the enterprise and providing an architecture to support users’ existing devices,” he said. “The carriers are coming at it from the other angle. If they’re contracting with the user, that’s kind of an administrative hassle for the enterprise.”
Desktop virtualization technologies aren’t an ideal solution, either. Reliance on connectivity and the performance of Windows OSes and apps on mobile devices are still obstacles for many organizations. As Bob Egan, managing director of MGI Research, put it at last week’s Interop conference, “Virtualization is a mess right now. … The company that figures out media support and application and OS neutrality is going to be a big company.”
Photo (cc) by Trace Meek and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.]]>
The iPhone 5 launch date will be Oct. 4, according to AllThingsD.
The report on the iPhone 5 launch date cites “sources close to the situation” as saying that Apple will hold its “next big media event,” hosted by new CEO Tim Cook, on Oct. 4.
The iPhone 5 will include the new iOS 5 operating system; Other expected iPhone 5 specs include a dual-core A5 processor and 8-megapixel camera. Rumor has it the iPhone 5 will also be available on the Sprint network for the first time, in addition to AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Apple has not officially announced the iPhone 5 launch date yet. Other media outlets have reported different iPhone 5 launch dates in the past, from late September through mid-October.]]>