I'm a little (OK, a LOT) late in writing about this, but part of the reason why it's taken me a while is because I needed to wrap my brain around this issue. Mobile virtualization. The notion that one device could (theoretically) run multiple operating systems. VMware announced a few days ago their new VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform. This could be huge.
So this is quite an innovative concept. VMware talks about multiple profiles on a device. I don't agree with that terminology if only because I use it in the contect of Fixed Mobile Convergence....where your phone can take a personal or professional "profile."
But regardless, here's how VMware describes their new mobile virtualization platform:
VMware MVP is a thin layer of software that is embedded on a mobile phone to decouple the applications and data from the underlying hardware. It is optimized to run efficiently on low power consuming and memory constrained mobile phones. The MVP currently supports a wide range of real-time and rich operating systems including Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0, Linux 2.6.x, Symbian 9.x, eCos, µITRON NORTi and µC/OS-II.
So imagine this....your HTC, Motorola or Palm device that runs Windows Mobile (or any of the other supported OSs) natively can now run multiple operating systems. That uber cool application that you can't use because it's built for another platform can now run on your device.
The first thing that came to my mind was a question. Does this make your device - or its operating system - fundamentally irrelevant? You could love the form factor of one device but not use it because it's on an OS that you don't like. I actually think this is a huge deal for device manufacturers...it puts pressure on them to create the best possible form factors. Do you then need to care about the OS? Does VMware's solution become the "core OS" of your device, allowing you to then run whatever other operating system(s) and application(s) are convenient for you at the time you need them? Is this the birth of a new twist on "mobility on demand"?
I think this will get even more important once VMware is able to support Android and the iPhone - imagine you using the iPhone because you love it....but can then switch to the Windows Mobile applications you need for work. Like I said, does the OS matter anymore?
This is a total game changer people.