VMware recently bought a small, privately-held french virtualization company, Trango, that specialized in hypervisors for smartphones and small mobile devices. While many questioned whether it was a little extreme to virtualize a cell phone, VMware felt the time for this technology was nigh.
In a recent article about VMware’s plans, the popular tech blog, Engadget, rips the virtualized cell phone idea to virtual – no pun intended – shreds:
The company pledges it’ll be a seamless experience, but we’re doubtful given how even stepping out of HTC’s SenseUI into the OS below can occasionally result in mild nausea. The bigger question is who would want this, and it’s easy to think the answer is “basically nobody”
Personally, I don’t think cell phone platform stability has developed to a point where I would want to run a hypervisor. It’s bad enough with app and OS crashes, there’s just no way I would want to introduce another significant stability (read, instability) variable.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of vendors ceding control. For example, I really don’t see Apple buying into this idea. Everything they’ve done on the desktop side, including their lawsuit against Psystar, suggests that they would come out guns blazing against anyone that tried to virtualize the iPhone experience. With significant players like Apple and potentially Palm, out of the cell phone virtualization game, we wonder how well this will work.
Of course, that leaves Windows Mobile and Android. But then again, you just don’t have the kinds of use cases justifying hypervisor use on a cell phone as you do in the server and desktop worlds. Would you slow down your phone and risk additional instability just so that you can have access to a few extra apps? By the way, most app developers provide versions of their apps – natively – for popular platforms, so the number of apps purely available on just one mobile OS may, in any case, be limited in practice.
Net-net. I just don’t see this happening any time soon. So while I won’t be as extreme as Engadget’s writers chose to be, I basically agree with their sentiment. What do you think?