Neither VMware nor LG Electronics can say when the mobile virtualization will be available. It could be next year but a lot depends on research by the carriers and how the service fits into product roll-outs.
Mobile virtualization is similar to desktop virtualization. The device is partitioned. Applications may be isolated. An employee may have their personal and professional contacts on one device. The enterprise information is in a virtualized environment that is isolated from the employee's personal information.
This allows the employee to have two profiles that are managed independently.
The mobile virtualization has to be installed on each device by an IT administrator. Once installed, the virtualized environment will appear as an icon on the device.
Carrying two mobile phones is not unusual. People will often need one device for work and a second for personal use. Virtualization on a mobile device would mean people could use one phone both for work and their personal lives.
VMware sees that this will solve two pain points. Providing secure data access to an increasing number of mobile users, and managing the burgeoning diversity of data, applications and client devices within the enterprise.
The VMware approach differs from the approach taking by Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs), which offers open-source virtualization software for mobile devices, consumer electronics, and embedded systems.
OK Labs cites VMware's news as a sign that the market is here and growing.
Open Kernel Labs is working with operators and chip makers to integrate virtualization. It sees virtualization as a way that multiple operating systems can work on one device.
The complexity of carrying multiple devices is apparent here at Dreamforce. CEO Marc Benioff made a show in his keynote of how many devices he carries. He pulled out five devices. Four smartphones came out of his pockets. He showed an iPad tucked into the back of his pants.
Now there's a man who would benefit from mobile virtualization.