VMware is looking to bring its virtualization technology to smart phones and cell phones in 2009 through a new virtualization platform called the VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform, or MVP. The platform will use a small-footprint hypervisor that will allow users to have multiple virtual machines on their smart phones in the same way a desktop or notebook can host different virtual environments. To help bring the platform to market, VMware acquired Trango Virtual Processors, a company that created a hypervisor for smart phones based on the ARM processor.
VMware is looking to bring its virtualization technology into the smart
phone market in 2009, with a small hypervisor that will allow nearly any mobile
device to run multiple virtual machines.
On Nov. 10, VMware
will announce that it will release a new virtualization platform called the
Mobile Virtualization Platform, or MVP, which consists of a small, bare-metal
hypervisor-20KB to 30KB-that will work with a number of mobile
devices based on an ARM processor
To bring a hypervisor to the mobile handset device market, VMware acquired a
company called Trango Virtual Processors
in October. VMware did not release the financial details of its latest
acquisition and kept the deal quiet until the Nov. 10 announcement of the new
There are only a handful of companies creating virtual platforms for smart
phones and other mobile devices. In addition to Trango,
OK Labs and VirtualLogix are some of the
other vendors looking to create hypervisors-the thin layer of software that
makes virtualization possible-that work with these ARM-based
When Xen.org released the 3.3 version of the Xen hypervisor earlier this
year, there was talk of allowing this open-source hypervisor to work on smart
phones as well.
While this market has great potential, especially as people look to smart
phones as a way to access the Web and application such as e-mail, its remains a
niche within the overall virtualization market. In a recent report from
Gartner, analysts estimated that about 10 million hypervisors for smart phones
will ship by the end of 2008. However, there are only a few handsets that
customers can buy with the embedded hypervisor.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT Research, said virtualization is rapidly
becoming like many other technologies such as 64-bit microprocessors and
high-capacity hard disk drives that start in the data center and begin to
spread into other devices, which then spawn whole new uses for the technology.
"Pushing virtualization into even smaller devices is an indication of how
powerful those devices have become, but it also indicates how powerful and how
flexible virtualization is," said King. "The fact that VMware is getting into
the smart phone market means that a lot of other players are going to pile on.
Microsoft certainly has a big investment there with the Windows Mobile
still considered the leading supplier of x86 virtualization for server systems
announced MVP Nov. 10, it will not likely hit the market until late 2009.
Srinivas Krishnamurti, a director of product
management for VMware, said VMware is working with a number of handset markers
to have them embed the hypervisor into new smart phone and cell phone designs.