Now that even 2010 is about to end, VMware is getting ready to disclose more about its strategy for mobile and how exactly it plans to deliver the Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) on customers’ handsets and possibly tablets.
In mid September, virtualization.info reported about the state of the project, originally announced in November 2008: ignited by the acquisition of Trango Virtual Processors, and delayed by at least one year, MVP is still alive albeit VMware has made significant changes to its architecture over time.
Even without a confirmation from competitor Open Kernel Labs, it was pretty obvious that VMware’s only choice to deliver at the moment is through the Android mobile OS. This would imply a direct partnership with Google and/or its ODM partners.
The confirmation arrives today: VMware and LG Electronics announce a partnership to deliver MVP on Android.
Engadget has a video of the platform in action.
ZDNet reports interesting comments from Srinivas Krishnamurti, Senior Director of Mobile Solutions at VMware, about the announcement:
…VMware has created a native virtualization app that will sit dormant on Android-based smartphones made by the Korean phone maker, Krishnamurti said…
Smartphones that have the app pre-installed will hit the market in 2011, but specific launch dates will be determined by telcos in the respective markets, he said…
In terms of distributing the app, the senior director revealed that the company has yet to decide whether it will preload the app onto all Android-based smartphones or make it available via Google’s Android Market for download, or do both…
Entering the telco market can be extremely difficult for VMware, as the last quoted sentence above seems to confirm. Even Google, which actually owns Android, had to give up on the idea of directly selling handsets and bypass telecom providers.
So, apparently, the capability to deliver mobile virtualization, assuming the market really needs it, ultimately depends on companies that are spending a lot of effort in locking down as much as possible the platforms to avoid even the smaller firmware upgrade for customers.
It’s interesting that VMware didn’t decide to partner with RIM rather than LG or other ODMs. Despite the immense and growing popularity of the Apple iPhone among consumers, RIM still seems to hold well in the corporate market, and VMware is obviously trying to sell MVP as an enterprise-oriented platform to manage cell phones as any other mobile device. A partnership with RIM would have positioned VMware in a different way, and would have provided RIM an interesting competitive advantage over Apple, Nokia and all other manufactures embracing Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 7.