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VMware: Run More than One OS on Your Phone

Over the last several days, the VMworld Europe conference has been taking place across the pond in Cannes. Along with a plethora of other virtualization demonstrations, VMWare came to show off its MVP, or Mobile Virtualization Platform.

MVP allows mobile devices to run multiple operating systems at once, creating a wholly unique experience for on-the-go users. For the debut, VMWare took a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and loaded Windows CE 6.0 and Google's Android operating system. According to Julia Alston, who heads up the MVP team at VMWare, each operating system image is only 40 megabytes in size, and the MVP hypervisor is only 20K, leaving plenty of memory left over on one's smartphone or MID.

As for system resources, the MVP software can load one OS while using another. In a demo recorded by IT Pro over in Britain, Alston is playing solitaire in CE 6.0 while Android is loading up. Alston explains that one OS can be your "personal OS", while the other s used strictly for business purposes. When it comes to which OS makes and takes phone calls (assuming both operating systems have that functionality), that is also left up to the user, who can choose which OS stack is responsible.

Usually, we are stuck with whatever operating system a carrier decides to load onto a given phone, be it Symbian, Android, or Windows Mobile. With MVP, carriers and manufacturers can now give the customer a wide array of choices, including their own proprietary phone software. Plus, since these OS images take up so little space, a manufacturer won't be sacrificing performance for choice. This is great news for smartphone users everywhere. Every popular phone operating system has its pros and cons. With this new MVP hypervisor, the best hardware can always have the best software.

  • jerreece
    Very interesting. I wonder how companies like RIM and Apple will take to this, considering they both put a lot of work/effort into specializing their OS to make it unique and specific to their brand.

    Could mean folks like me, with my Palm Treo 700wx could have another choice if we really wanted (besides my Win Mobile 5).
  • Virtualization is great for large enterprises and their servers(and I mean REALLY great), but for consumers it's more of a neat party trick than anything else... I would also imagine that if VMs run slow on my 4 year old laptop, that they probably run painfully slow on a cellphone.
  • fo0b4er
    Wow... I wonder if anybody would actually buy that.. In any case woo hoo for the Nokia N800! I love it! Best gadget I own!