VMware, LG Explain Plans for 'Glued Together' Smartphones

The new LG phones will have two phone numbers and two e-mail addresses to keep personal and business data completely separate on a single device.

The days of companies in non-regulated markets conducting business strictly on a desktop, laptop or thin-client computer within a closed network are pretty much history.
With an increasing number of personal devices handling business-related data through social networking and other channels, more and more sensitive corporate information is trickling into iPhones, BlackBerrys, netbooks and tablets that in a perfect world wouldn't be stored there.
The decaying borders between business and personal worlds are causing major-league headaches for IT administrators and security experts, who are now scrambling for new ways for employees to use their own devices for both home and business and yet keep sensitive data secure.
That's where VMware and smartphone maker LG came to the rescue Dec. 7.
Using end-user virtualization software from VMware, the two companies have formed a partnership to build a new generation of LG smartphones with a separate corporate identity and e-mail account, distinct from the user's personal account.
The new workspace on the LG phones will appear as an application amid the other functions, but it is really is its own secure entity unencumbered by personal applications. The corporate environment includes e-mail, contacts, an attachment viewer, and document editing for starters; other functions can be added.
"The diversity of devices coming into the enterprise is skyrocketing," VMware Senior Director Mobile Solutions Srinivas Krishnamurti told eWEEK. "You have Macs coming in, you have iPads, iPhones, smartphones, etcetera. Fundamentally, end-user computing is changing pretty dramatically in the enterprise market.
"The goal for us-and what users want-is to make this a secure workspace that is accessible from any device anywhere at any time. That's the end result we want."
Click here to view a Quicktime video demonstration of the LG-VMware phone.
Numerous companies already have corporate standards for devices, whether it be a BlackBerry, a specific mobile phone or a netbook or tablet, and don't want-or know how to-manage personal devices. With employees already coming to work with their own devices that work just fine but represent security problems, the problem of having to juggle multiple devices also has become an issue.
"The way to think about this is, we're going to build phones with multiple profiles-one for home use, one for business use. The corporate phone is completely managed by IT, your personal things remain personal, and they both reside on the same device," Krishnamurti said.
One device, two separate profiles-and two phone numbers
"It's like taking your iPhone and your BlackBerry and gluing them together. You will have one device with two separate profiles."
Krishnamurti and LG Director of Strategy and Business Development James Park weren't specific about how the new phones would work or how they would be priced; the main news Dec. 7 was the partnership and the intention to provide these phones.
They did tell eWEEK that the phones should be coming into the U.S. market in the first or second quarter of 2011.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...