The iPhone far outpaces Android and webOS in the smartphone race because it has more time on the market and a much larger and respected resource for apps. But what if someone could buy a phone capable of running Android or webOS and still run those coveted iPhone apps?
VMware, already known for its work in virtualizing desktop operating systems, wants to make that a reality by delivering “mobile computing devices” capable of running dual operating systems. According to Computerworld, VMware has plans to take the concept beyond the dual-boot solution available, instead relying on the ability to easily and rapidly switch between two systems loaded on one device. VMWare’s vision for its “Mobile Virtualization Platform” is to be able to check Facebook for personal use, load a call log or customer list for business use, and switch between screens featuring apps from two OS’s without having to power down and then boot up again. It’s a concept similar to HTC Sense’s “scenes” feature that separates work/home life features, but VMware’s plans call for far more integration, security, and “unlimited application flexibility.”
Getting two OS’s onto one device and making them integrate seamlessly is an ambitious project, but is it really necessary? I love my Android phone and have a little jealousy when seeing iPhone apps not available for the platform, but I wonder how well these two systems would interact with each other. So many Android apps have to deal with fragmentation – what works on a Droid may not work on a Hero or myTouch – so a virtualized smartphone would be quite impressive if VMware manages to get different OS’s to play nice with each other.
VMware says it has partnered with two carriers to begin working on prototypes of its dual OS concept. Beta testing will begin in 2011 and mass production will begin the following year if all goes according to plan.