I had a chance to sit down with Srinivas Krishnamurti, VMware’s senior director of mobile products, and check out the Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP). MVP is an interesting concept that blends both personal and professional phone usage by actually installing a separate virtual instance of Android on select handsets (VMware currently has partnership with LG, Samsung and Verizon to bring the devices to market).
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The demo he gave looked great: Apps were responsive, alerts from one OS popped up on the other’s notifications, and switching back and forth was a relative breeze. The concept of a dual-mode work life/personal life phone isn’t new, but VMware might have the first credible take at making it a reality: The “work” side of the phone is completely encrypted and can be remotely wiped by IT.
The two biggest questions that remain in my mind are, like with many of VMware’s ambitious new launches:
- How well will this work compared to not running a virtualized OS? It’s an extra layer of complexity and software on already limited devices, and there’s been speculation that the phone processors could drag.
- How well can VMware partner to bring these phones out into the market?
The second question is important: VMware and LG first partnered about a year ago, no commercial products that support the technology are shipping yet, and Krishnamurti said it was impossible to pinpoint when MVP devices would hit the market due to ongoing negotiations with carriers. And while a VMware employee proudly touted that LG and Samsung were the two largest phone makers, that’s not necessarily an indicator of future success.