VMWare aims to make your smartphone dual boot

By Kshitij Sobti | Updated 7 Dec 2009
VMWare aims to make your smartphone dual boot

A few months back during rumours about an Android based Nokia phone I made a hopeful speculation that one day we would have mobile phones running multiple operating systems, and while I casually mentioned the year 2015, it seems the might be sooner then even that!

VMWare MVP or the Mobile Virtualization Platform is a new venture by VMWare which will soon allow you to run multiple operating systems on your smartphone! The VMWare MVP is an ARM hypervisor which supports multiple ARM architectures, making it uniquely capable of running nearly any smartphone OS available today.
It supports ARMv4, ARMv5, ARMv6, and ARMv7 instruction sets, and is capable of running nearly all operating systems used on mobiles such as Android 1.5, Symbian 9.3 / 9.4 / 9.5, Windows CE 5.0 / 6.0, eCos, µITRON, µ-COSII. These can thus run on any system running the VMWare MVP.
The advantages of VMWare MVP aren't just in running multiple OSs on your smartphone, but also in running then in the hypervisor, thus increasing security and making it easier to develop drivers -- since they need only be developed for the MVP, after which they can run anywhere.
One of the uses VMWare enlists for such a product is for enterprises, which can then support employee owned devices by running a private corporate appliance which can run along along-with with the OS installed in the employee's device.
More importantly, it gives you the flexibility to keep running the application you like and paid for even after switching devices. Anyone who has spend considerable amount of money purchasing iPhone, Android or Symbian application will understand the feeling of being locked to the platform. You either need to purchase the same device, or lose you applications. 
Here you can run multiple OSs allows you to continue using your favourite application even after you switch to a new device. In fact, by backing up your application and data to the cloud, you can have a seamless upgrade from one device to another without losing your data or applications.
VMWare MVP will also support running virtual appliances or vApps which are basically bundles of an OS and an application. By wrapping an application around just the bare minimum of the operating system it runs on, you have an appliance which will run on any MVP enabled device whether it runs in the OSs installed on the device or not.
While this technology isn't available today, it does paint a bright picture for the future of smartpones. It would a lovely to finally be able to pick a device for its salient features without needing to worry about which OS it runs, or discarding a device which you like just because it doesn't run your OS of choice.
Kshitij Sobti

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