VMware is developing virtualization software for smartphones that would see two profiles running on the same device at the same time. VMware sees a work and personal profile running on a phone at the same time, as opposed to giving users a choice of dual-booting into one or the other. The idea is to have users switch between the two quickly with the press of a button.
While VMware programmers are still deciding on details such as how to switch between apps or identify phone calls, they have plenty of ideas. The former could be addressed by clicking specific buttons confined to one OS or the other, while the latter may be as simple as having a dedicated ringtone for calls coming into the work line and calls in the personal line.
Such a dual OS would be beneficial to smartphone owners, as they are using the devices more like PCs. VMWare believes this means that the same issues that apply to PCs, including security concerns and management costs, will therefore soon plague smartphones as well. Having a single device with a dual OS setup would also be less costly and more convenient to employees who are required to carry a smarpthone for work purposes.
VMWare has successfully demonstrated both Android and Windows Mobile working on a last-generation smartphone with 128MB of RAM, though admits 256MB of RAM would be ideal.
VMWare is now working with a US and European wireless carrier on prototype phones and enterprise beta testing due to start in 2011, with mass production of such devices due to start in 2012. The company is also seeking an Australian carrier to partner with on this undertaking.
On the other hand, Microsoft believes there is little to no market for virtualization software on smartphones. Reasons for this include less productivity as each OS has different information and contacts.