VMware, Inc. has announced plans to bring virtualization to mobile phones through the new VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP).
Built on technology acquired from Trango Virtual Processors in October 2008, VMware MVP will help handset vendors reduce development time and get mobile phones with value-added services to market faster. In addition, end users will benefit by being able to run multiple profiles – for example, one for personal use and one for work use – on the same phone.
“VMware is excited to extend the benefits of virtualization, which we pioneered for x86 hardware, to the mobile phone market,” said Paul Maritz, president and chief executive officer of VMware. “By abstracting the applications and data from the hardware itself, we expect that virtualization 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. We look forward to working closely with our partners to bring new mobile solutions to market faster.”
"Gartner sees virtualization in the mobile space as a very promising and potentially a fast emerging market,” said Monica Basso, research vice president, at Gartner. “We predict that by 2012, more than 50% of new smart phones shipped will be virtualized. Virtualization can enable enterprises and consumers to easily manage and secure their phones and it can also help handset vendors reduce bills of materials and shorten development cycles to allow for faster releases.”
VMware MVP is a thin layer of software that will be embedded on a mobile phone that decouples the applications and data from the underlying hardware.
The company says it will be optimized to run efficiently on low-power-consuming and memory-constrained mobile phones.
The MVP is planned to enable handset vendors to bring phones to market faster and make them easier to manage. The platform currently supports a wide range of real-time and rich operating systems including Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0, Linux 2.6.x, Symbian 9.x, eCos, µITRON NORTi and µC/OS-II.
VMware explained that handset vendors spend significant time and effort getting new phones to market due to the use of multiple chipsets, operating systems and device drivers across their product families. The same software stack does not work across all the phones and, therefore, must be ported separately for each platform. This process is slow and expensive and ultimately slows time to market. VMware MVP will virtualize the hardware, enabling handset vendors to develop a software stack with an operating system and a set of applications that is not tied to the underlying hardware. This will enable the vendors to deploy the same software stack on a wide variety of phones without worrying about the underlying hardware differences. At the same time, by isolating the device drivers from the operating system, handset vendors can further reduce porting costs because they can now use the same drivers irrespective of the operating system deployed on the phone.