VMware virtualises mobile phones

Virtualisation leader VMware has taken its system to mobile phones, in the hopes that manufactures can separate the hardware from the operating system and reduce time to market for new products.

The VMware Mobile Virtualisation Platform (MVP) is based on technology the firm picked up when it acquired Trango Virtual Processors last month.

The hypervisor sits between the hardware and the operating system, allowing for more standardisation, as the same software can be used across differnt handset hardware. This means fewer drivers need to be developed and less testing needs to occur, shortening the time it takes to get a new phone on the market, VMware claimed.

"By abstracting the applications and data from the hardware itself, we expect that virtualisation will not only enable handset vendors to accelerate time to market but can also pave the way for innovative applications and services for phone users," said Paul Maritz, VMware's chief executive.

For end users, it offers the ability to have multiple profiles on the same phone and more easily transfer profiles and data sets across handsets, the firm said.

The software will be embedded on handsets at the manufacturing stage, and is designed to run on devices with limited memory without straining batteries, VMware claimed.

Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner, predicted that half of new smartphones will be virtualised by 2012.

However, VMware has yet to get any manufacturers to sign up to use the system. "There's a lot of discussions on-going today," Fredrik Sjostedt, EMEA director of product marketing, told IT PRO. "But we're not announcing any partnerships yet."

VMware faces challenges from Microsoft in the virtualisation area - read more here.