Telefonica, VMware Bringing Dual Persona to Samsung Galaxy S II

Telefonica Digital and virtualization powerhouse VMware teamed up on a Dual Persona service that splits corporate and personal data profiles on one Android device. The Galaxy S II will be the first device to get this service.

Telefonica Digital and virtualization powerhouse VMware Feb. 28 unveiled a new service that lets users separate their corporate work data and their personal data on one Android handset.

The Telefonica Dual Persona service is designed to help IT departments provision and manage corporate email, applications and data to an employee's Android device over-the-air via a cloud-based instance of VMware's Horizon Mobile device-management software.

When an employee leaves the company or if a device is lost or stolen, the business will be better able to wipe corporate information from mobile devices without deleting the user's personal profile. Dual Persona users may switch from professional profile to personal profile by tapping on an app icon. Users will also receive both work and personal notifications within both profiles.

The service, introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, will be available first on Samsung's Galaxy S II handset in the second quarter of this year.

Samsung, which has sold more than 20 million S II units, will run Dual Persona on additional Android smartphones and tablets in the coming months, and Telefonica said it hopes to get its software on other operating systems and platforms in time.

Telefonica will provide more information on pricing and countries where the service will launch in the coming months.

The split-phone identity concept is not new. Enterproid last year launched Divide, a software platform that lets corporate road warriors create and keep personal and professional profiles on one Android smartphone or tablet.

What's driving this trend toward mobile gadgets with split personalities? The consumerization of IT is a major reason. Forrester Research has said 60 percent of companies now allow their employees to use personal smartphones and tablets at work, a trend that should blossom.

As BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's market share wanes, consumers are bringing other devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones and tablets into the workplace. This bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend spurs IT managers to figure out how to manage the secure transmission of corporate data and apps across these personal gadgets.

As more and more personal devices flood the workplace, managing and securing corporate data on those devices can get unwieldy, presenting challenges for IT managers.

Hence, the opportunity arises for services like Telefonica's Dual Persona and VMware's Horizon Mobile, which the company unveiled in the U.S. last October in a pact with Verizon.