In the November 2008 VMware unveiled a plan to bring the hypervisor to mobile phones.
It announced its Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) project and the acquisition of Trango, one of the few startups working in this new market segment.
At the last two VMworld conferences (in Europe and US), the company showed a prototype (a Nokia N800 smartphone) that was able to switch between two different virtual machines, one running a personal environment, and one running the corporate environment. Each one with its own embedded operating system (Microsoft CE 6.0 and Google Android 1.x), each own with independent and isolated user profiles and data.
ComputerWorld is reporting that that prototype was only able to boot one VM at time, and that VMware now plans to run both VMs concurrently, but as far as we saw on stage the parallel execution was already there during the demonstration.
Anyway the article is interesting because it provides insight about the status of the project.
First of all, it seems that the smart phones will require 256MB RAM to run the hypervisor and the two guest embedded OSes at the same time.
While running side by side, the two platforms should be able to handle the incoming calls concurrently. The hypervisor will treat the calls just like normal network traffic, deciding which one goes to which VM.
VMware is still deciding how to expose the two environments to the user: he may have to push a button to switch between them, or their applications may appear all together, just like it happens for desktop virtualization products featuring the seamless window capability.
In November 2008 VMware said that MVP may appear in 12-18 months. Now instead it is reporting that it will start beta testing its prototype with three carriers (one for US, one for Europe and one for Australia) in 2011 and that the embedded hypervisor won’t hit the market before 2012.