Saw this interesting piece of announcement from Vmware earlier today. According to Information Week this technology came through the Trango Virtual Processor acquisition. I use VMware on a daily basis on my laptop as a productivity tool. I run Ubuntu which allows me certain tools and environments that I prefer to use for certain tasks instead of the native XP environment. The VMware announcement states that with this latest and greatest technology device vendors (who are feeling the heat) can quickly move their devices to a new OS. Hmmmm.. I can think of some possibilities right away, given the mobile OS competition has been really heating up and some of the players would probably love to leapfrog into newer alternative OSs without appearing to be falling behind.
The announcement states that this technology abstraction layer can work over Symbian, Windows CE, Linux and a few others. Does not mention Windows Mobile. Additional information seems to be only available on demand. So I am not sure whether sometime in the future me as a user can download a VMware player for my E71 and make Android run on top of it 🙂 Or whther it is the device manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung and others that are suddenly able to release a new line of devices wth an alternate OS, assuming an image for that OS exists!
The end user benefits seem kind of interesting. They describe it as enabling Multiple Personalities on a phone. I have heard this term before in my line of business. Often in its simplistic form it is referred as supporting multiple profiles on a device. But in a VMware world I would imagine these might be co-located envirorments that can be mutually firewalled.
It would supposedly also allow me to switch devices without losing my precious data as long as the devices all support this technology. Reminds me of Java’s write once run everywhere deal. But moving data between devices can indeed be a challenge which is sometimes lost on people like me who have been using various PC Suite enabled Nokia phones for a while.
My Nokia E71 has this thing called Modes which allows me to change my Home Screen preferred apps and style of the display between a set of configurable choices to suit my current needs, i.e. whether I am at office or home. I assume what the VMware folks have in mind is a more powerful variety of environment management such as swapping out between Ubuntu, XP, Leopard on a desktop. But given the resource limitations of a mobile device I would not get my hopes too high up. it might more interesting to try it out on the N810 tablet at some point, assuming average users can get their hand on the runtime.
I do not know how much of a real end user need is there for a mobile device with this flexibility. My guess is that the primary beneficiaries are probably the vendors that are trying to stay on top of the unfolding OS game between Android, OSX, Symbian Foundation, Limo, etc. – as long as this technology can deliver.