Taking Back IT

Sep 27 2011   3:58PM GMT

VMware eyes MVP in Android kernel

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The new SlideRocket and Socialcast iPad apps aren’t the only news from VMware today.

The company is also working to make its mobile hypervisor part of the Android kernel, CTO Stephen Herrod said at the GigaOM Mobilize show, according to GigaOM.

By putting its Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) on every Android device, VMware would have a big leg up on competitors … if any major competitors existed. That might be a sign that mobile virtualization is a futuristic technology, and VMware is just far ahead of the curve. Or it might be a sign that nobody else thinks mobile virtualization is a worthwhile approach.

At its core, mobile virtualization is one potential solution to the problems caused by the consumerization of IT. It allows employees to keep a “personal phone” and a locked-down “work phone” on the same device, and IT pros don’t have to worry about supporting every single device under the sun.

VMware’s mobile virtualization approach comes with several gotchas, though. For starters, as GigaOM’s Derrick Harris noted, Apple probably won’t allow mobile virtualization on the iPhone anytime soon. So right out of the gate, there’s a big chunk of devices that IT can’t control with mobile virtualization.

Our Keith Kessinger got to try out VMware MVP at VMworld last month, and he pointed out other problems: the short battery life of most mobile phones, which could decrease even further when running two OSes, and the fragmentation of Google’s hardware partners, which could raise compatibility issues.

Mobile virtualization, and VMware MVP specifically, could evolve to become a real asset for IT. But for now, as Keith wrote after VMworld, “I left the show feeling like the technology is little more than a novelty.”

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