Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

VMware's Dual OS Smartphone Virtualization Plan Firms Up

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-about-triple dept.

Cellphones 179

Sharky2009 writes "VMware is developing virtualisation for smartphones which can run any two OSes — Windows Mobile, Android or Linux — at once. The idea is to have your work applications and home applications all running insider their own VMs and running at the same time so you can access any app any time. VMware says: 'We don't think dual booting will be good enough — we'll allow you to run both profiles at the same time and be able to switch between them by clicking a button,' he said. 'You'll be able to get and make calls in either profile – work or home – as they will both be live at any given point in time.'" Also mentioned in February of this year, but now the company's announced a target of 2012 for mass production.

cancel ×

179 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why? (2, Insightful)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349670)

No, really, why?

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349700)

Supposedly, it's to support the growing trend (seriously?) of companies requiring employees to provide their own phones/PCs/whatever. Virtualization will allow them to run a "work phone" environment on their personal phone. Reported advantage is that it eliminates the need to carry two phones while still firewalling off work data from the "personal phone" environment.

Sounds great, huh?

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349744)

At our company employees do get their own cell phone, company chips in $30 or $60 a month depending on whether they need a data plan (which we cover the cost of) into the first paycheck of the month.

Works extremely well.

I don't really see the point of this in the real world. I could see where this could be useful where we would have 1 phone and test in Windows Mobile and Android on one hardware platform. Outside of that, I see no real value.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349760)

Virtualization is hip. Somebody at your management will be swayed.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350484)

Virtualization is hip. Somebody at your management will be swayed.

Virtualisation is so last year, it's all in the cloud now.

Where is my cloud phone ?

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350852)

There was the Sidekick, but it's future is now ... clouded ...

Re:Why? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350752)

Nokia has a home screen / work screen on some of their smartphones, without the need for any virtualisation.

Re:Why? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351168)

Nokia has a home screen / work screen on some of their smartphones, without the need for any virtualisation.

Great! But that still requires a Nokia phone, and all employees have to buy Nokia. What if they want a Pre or Android phone?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349778)

There are many potential uses. Access to multiple app suites, ability to put a less restrictive environment on a company phone without exposing, say, a corporate VPN to untrusted software, etc. The trend is toward virtualization for security and compliance.

Re:Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350166)

there are many potential uses for yo mama. niggerdicks are her primary use.

Re:Why? (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349902)

Except for the fact that the phone will likely still have only one SIM card, only one telephone number, and you'll now be on-call when you need your phone for personal business.

Re:Why? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349946)

That's not a change in lifestyle for many folks these days.

Re:Why? (1)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350436)

I've seen two-SIM phones before. I don't know about availability, cost, etc, but it would be a good idea for some people.

Re:Why? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350790)

Two SIM phones are common in Asia and among the low cost clone phones. You don't see them in the US or even Europe since the telcos are adamant that they do not want you to have access to any other 'service'.

I just bought a very cheap iPhone clone Sciphone i9+ from Hong Kong for US$71 that has dual SIMS micro memory card slot. iPhone-like icons, camera, video, acceleration sensor (changes orientation of photos when you tilt the phone, etc.), FM radio, lots of other stuff.

The dual SIMS are great for me since I can have both my Swisscom SIM and my ATT SIM in the phone (and both active at the same time, if I want).

The phone, however, is of dodgy quality and the OS is proprietary. It does have Java so you can add software to it easily.

Re:Why? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350010)

while still firewalling off work data from the "personal phone" environment.

Unless the two systems can't access files stored by the other one, how are you going to keep somebody from accessing work data from the home side of the phone? If nothing else, they can still email it home from the personal side without any record of it on the work side.

Re:Why? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350876)

Apparently, you're not especially familiar with virtual machines. You can isolate the machines, so that they are never aware of each other, or you can set up networking between them, or you can allow them to simply share resources on hard disk. It all depends on the administrator's goals how they are set up. I can allow a WinXP VM to bet so infested with malware that it can't even boot up, but it has zero effect on a similar WinXP VM running on the same hardware. Well - aside from consuming CPU cycles, which will necessarily slow down the second VM, along with the host. But, the infections will stay isolated in that first VM, unless I'm sharing folders in one manner or another.

Re:Why? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350408)

Virtualization will allow them to run a "work phone" environment on their personal phone. Reported advantage is that it eliminates the need to carry two phones while still firewalling off work data from the "personal phone" environment.

And where is the part that requires two OSes? This is the classic "solution looking for a problem".

Re:Why? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350744)

> Virtualization will allow them to run a "work phone" environment on their personal phone. Reported advantage is that it eliminates the need to carry two phones while still firewalling off work data from the "personal phone" environment.

Except that it does not. It will (if implemented properly) shield the private phone from the work phone, but not the other way around. Or, in short: trusting an untrustworthy platform is a bad idea. So if your work data is so important, it needs to run on a work phone.

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Nested (981630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349704)

/thread

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

salted-fry (1625847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349754)

When all you have is virtualization, all your markets look like... um, virtualization problems? (not very catchy, is it)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350118)

Is that that "having a hammer and seeing nails" metaphor again? Yeah, it needs work. Sorry.

Hmm...*pulls out hammer* Here, let me fix that for you....

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349792)

Why not?

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

oxfletch (108699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349798)

Because they're VMware and they don't have anything more useful to do?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350318)

Cool! All this functionality available to power users while driving...

Re:Why? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349978)

No, really, why?

This is supported behind the scenes by the battery industry. Several years back, a phone that couldn't last one week would be viewed as kinda week, smartphones put that limit down to a day with real use, and of course, this virtualization will be completely useless for most people, but they'll accept having to charge the phone every 6 hours now. So instead of replacing a battery every 2 years, it'll go through all of expected lifecycle in 3 months. Profit! $$$

(I can't think of any other reason...)

Re:Why? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350078)

There's already a hot market for dual-SIM card phones, but that requires you to "dual boot". If your job requires you live/do your job through your phone, this makes things a lot easier.

Re:Why? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350840)

No, really, why?

It's the only way to make Windows Mobile usable.

Re:Why? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350864)

Virtualization exists because OS companies have a hard time making resilient OSes. In an ideal world, it wouldn't be needed, and OSes would be reliable, load-balancing... natively.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351120)

Virtualization exists because OS companies have a hard time making resilient OSes. In an ideal world, it wouldn't be needed, and OSes would be reliable, load-balancing... natively.

Such an OS has existed. It was called OpenVMS.

Re:Why? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351164)

If the OSes aren't capable of load-balancing properly on their own, how is it that the VMs running on them are properly load-balanced?

won't this adversely affect (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349678)

battery life?

Re:won't this adversely affect (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349814)

battery life?

No they use virtual batteries.

Seriously, supposedly the reason apple has assiduously avoided background processes not to mention creating a centralized push notifier was to avoid battery life drain and process management headaches. Which OS get's to be the power manager? Or does that fall to the VM too? And then imagine the process management headache when I've got three different places to kill apps (the two OS and the VM). ANd did some one say virtual memory paging hell?

Re:won't this adversely affect (0, Offtopic)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350112)

ok I tried really hard, I opened the tab, then closed it again, then read three more posts, before having to post this. "get's" does not have an apostrophe in it! It is "gets". It's not a contraction, and it's not possessive. I can understand bad grammar, lack of punctuation, etc., but poor usage of apostrophes really "get's" my goat!!!

Re:won't this adversely affect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350438)

"get's" does not have an apostrophe in it!

It obviously does. :D

Re:won't this adversely affect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350804)

You mean "doe's"?

Re:won't this adversely affect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350916)

"ok I tried really hard, I opened the tab, then closed it again, then read three more posts, before having to post this. "get's" does not have an apostrophe in it! It is "gets". It's not a contraction, and it's not possessive. I can understand bad grammar, lack of punctuation, etc., but poor usage of apostrophes really "get's" my goat!!!"

No need to wonder what anal retentive children grow up to be, is there? They all have a promising future on forums and boards like Slashdot. I wonder what it pays?

Yo! JAPAN !! You want some more !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349684)

I've got some more for you right here

Re:Yo! JAPAN !! You want some more !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350252)

Oh come on. That war was over in 1975, nearly 35 years ago.

great, so my phone can be even slower (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349686)

The idea is to have your work applications and home applications all running insider their own VMs and running at the same time so you can access any app any time.

Are they including a free RAM upgrade kit? And why does this seem to be a hammer in search of non-existent nails?

The biggest problem I have right now: lack of dual SIM (or multi-line) support in almost any phone. I don't need to separate "work applications" from "home applications." I need to have a work number / data plan billed to my company, and a home number (with no data plan) billed to me.

*Checks calendar* Yup, it's 2009. VOIP still not possible on my smartphone...

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (5, Informative)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349752)

*Checks calendar* Yup, it's 2009. VOIP still not possible on my smartphone...

My phone is smart because it runs a Linux distro that allows for root access when required. Meaning I am not restricted, tethered, limited etc...

I bought my phone two years ago, so it is not new.

Nokia Nxxx (770, 800, 810, 900) all will allow you to run WiFi, VoIP, etc... With the N900 you have the option of getting a cellular plan if you must. Personally I would not bother with cellular any time soon, but that is my choice.

Thanks to my choice (VoIP + WiFi on my "smart" linux enabled (maemo) hand set) my total cost of ownership (TCO) is less than $100 per year. You read that right, less than $100 per year. $24 per year for SkypeIn (with SkypePro) + $3.00 per month for unlimited calling. $24 + $36 and I am done. That is for one year.

I love it. So make sure you purchase the right phone. Hint on the WiFi Firewall/Router, get a DD-WRT supported device! [dd-wrt.com] . Check the website first before you purchase and only purchase hardware that supports DD-WRT, that way you can control your router and insure WiFi access via a secure intranet.

Your solution is simple, purchase the right hand set. Buy the right phone. If it will not run a Linux (that allows you to access root when required) then do not buy it! Are you limited, tethered, restricted...then you must not have root access to fix that!

A strong password for your root account is enough of a security deterrent and has been for years, so please do not spread that FUD.

open source elitism (-1, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349858)

My phone is smart because it runs a Linux distro that allows for root access when required. Meaning I am not restricted, tethered, limited etc...

My phone is smart because it runs software which syncs my music, podcasts, contacts, and photos with my computer. It's also jailbroken and unlocked, which means it is also not restricted, tethered, or limited, and I get root access which I never require...thank you very much.

I can also make and receive phone calls when I'm not near a WiFi point, idiot.

As for DD-WRT and the gang (not sure why you mentioned it in the first place) - I tried it on my supposedly supported router. It crashed (without recovering) about every 4 hours, and performance topped out at around 8MB/sec instead of 12MB with the original firmware (it's an N router.) I spent a couple hours over the course of a week trying to figure out what was wrong, gave up, and moved on with my life by putting the original commercial firmware back on it.

Re:open source elitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350136)

tomato+openvpn mod is better than ddwrt and without the headaches.

Re:open source elitism (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350234)

My phone is smart because it runs software which syncs my music, podcasts, contacts, and photos with my computer. It's also jailbroken and unlocked, which means it is also not restricted, tethered, or limited, and I get root access which I never require...thank you very much.

My phone does all that and more, like multi-tasking, runs custom OS roms and doesn't require software to load media nor requires hacking before all functions are available to me. It also has MSC capabilities out of the box.

Re:open source elitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350474)

I can make calls with my phone and the new battery lasted two weeks. Now, after 3.5 years, I'm down to one week battery lifetime. Oh, and I can take pictures, watch videos and listen to music with it. But I'm happy using it just as a phone.

Re:open source elitism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350348)

Please explain, how having to "break" your phone just to get it to do useful things makes it smart? Sounds like you are the pot(head) calling everyone else a hippie...

open source elitism or just fiscal intellegence? (3, Insightful)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350422)

Just because the poster is unwilling void his warranty to make his phone useful and be price gouged by at&t by a mandated data plan just so he can get some of the worst 3G coverage in the nation hardly makes him an elitist; In fact, I would say he's just smarter / more fiscally responsible than you for using just what he needs with out paying for extra.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1, Troll)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349886)

How android works is analogous to a virtual machine already. If you've rooted your Android phone you don't really have full root access to what runs underneath the Linux variant.

My phone is smart because it runs a Linux distro that allows for root access when required.

The linux you have root too is really running a layer above the the radio software etc. This is why rooting your 'droid is (reasonably) safe, you stilll don't get root to fsck with the fundamentals of the phone and bring down the local 3G network. On a side note, your user-level applications run in their own sandboxed userids and not the logged in the user as such. More to the point the application space runs in Java which has virtual machine like qualities and I can see many tricks possibly to get android running very nicely alongside anything else.

Oh and it's Linux too.

Android at least seems to be ripe for VMware to play with. The difficulty would be any non-linux/unix derived smartphone OS (ahem Windows mobile ahem).

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349914)

How android works is analogous to a virtual machine already. If you've rooted your Android phone you don't really have full root access to what runs underneath the Linux variant.

Um, no. The vast majority of Android handsets use SoCs where the Linux kernel has complete control over the applications processor and the baseband stack runs on a dedicated core. Some of these (Droid) use two different chips (OMAP3430+MSM6K) and some (Dream, Hero, etc) use a single chip with multiple cores (like MSM7201A). I'm unaware of any commercially shipping Android handset where the Linux kernel for Android is not running "on the bare metal"

There's nothing "under" Linux in these environments, though the baseband is "alongside", but that's not really that different (conceptually) than plugging a WAN card into your PC.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350410)

My phone is smart because it runs a Linux distro that allows for root access when required.

Now I see why most slashdotters are considering themselves smart...

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350672)

Thanks to my choice (VoIP + WiFi on my "smart" linux enabled (maemo) hand set) my total cost of ownership (TCO) is less than $100 per year. You read that right, less than $100 per year. $24 per year for SkypeIn (with SkypePro) + $3.00 per month for unlimited calling. $24 + $36 and I am done. That is for one year.

It also is not much more useful than using a landline and pay phones. The point in a mobile phone is that you are mobile.

If however you never go outside, or otherwise spend 100% of your time in areas with free WiFi, then it's great for you, but there's no point making a big deal about it because it's a useless idea for most mobile users.

Me, I have a company mobile and we're allowed personal use as long as we don't take the piss. I send and receive a few texts each week, and sometimes use internet services (email, cinema times, and I've just installed a facebook app), but I'm around computers most of the day anyway so it's rare that I'd need to use my phone for that stuff.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (3, Informative)

olden (772043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350808)

... Thanks to my choice (VoIP + WiFi on my "smart" linux enabled (maemo) hand set) my total cost of ownership (TCO) is less than $100 per year. ... $24 per year for SkhypeIn (with SkhypePro) + $3.00 per month for unlimited calling...

Huh, if all you need is calling while next to a WiFi hotspot, "less than $100/y" remains way overpriced IMHO.
I use VoIP from my cellphone for maybe $10 to $20/y with SIPdroid [sipdroid.org] + IPkall [ipkall.com] DID + JustVoip [justvoip.com] (or others [backsla.sh] ) + optional: Asterisk [asteriskpbx.org] , SIPBroker [sipbroker.com] and E164 [e164.org] . But all this is mostly irrelevant as my reason for having a cell is to call from places other than home or work = often without WiFi.

Back on topic: VMware stuff is IMO like that VoIP/WiFi stuff: sure cool, appealing to geeks. Good for PR / publicity. But otherwise limited practical usefulness, esp for non-techies...

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351056)

Interesting. I don't own a cell phone - the wife and kids do, but the service in our area makes them just about useless. You have to go to town to get decent service at all.

But, you've got me interested in playing with a Nokia. Thanks!

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349800)

Frankly, the RAM is the easiest part of all this. All you need for that is a few dollars worth of well proven technology that gets cheaper all the time.

Battery life is the real kicker. The very best commercially available batteries are just barely adequate for one smartphone OS, much less two trampling on one another. These phones will either last 3 hours, or hearken back to the "old school brick" form factor.

Dual SIM is funny. Horrible little Chinese knockoff phones, with inscrutable UIs and more misappropriated brand names than correctly spelled words, all support dual SIM, no problem. Among phones that you've actually heard of, though, not so much.

I'm frankly pretty pessimistic about VMware's chances here. I'm sure that they can manage it, in the technical sense, for suitably modest flavors of "manage", and on high end phones; but(assuming anybody actually likes this one phone, two personalities idea) they'll likely be beaten by the makers of the phone OSes.

Unlike the PC/server situation, where potentially insecure or ill-behaved applications make virtualization seem like a very useful compartmentalization strategy, the phone scene has been ruled with an iron fist by the vendors. Plus, because phones have been treated as near-disposable client devices for years now, and are stuck on low-bandwidth pipes, VMware's failover and redundancy stuff isn't going to be too relevant.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349838)

Frankly, the RAM is the easiest part of all this. All you need for that is a few dollars worth of well proven technology that gets cheaper all the time.

Except that every embedded device or phone has very constrained amounts of memory, because they're trying to get the per-unit cost down as much as possible to get per-unit pricing up as much as possible (or drop the price to compete- cell phones are a commodity item.) When's the last time you even saw RAM specs on a phone? The iPhone (non 3GS) has 128MB and is widely considered to be hobbled by it.

Hell, it's true in the desktop world, too. You can spend $2500 on a Mac Pro, and Apple will only give you 3GB of RAM.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349870)

I realize that the embedded world is extremely cost sensitive, constantly trimming as far down as possible.

My point was just that, if the customer/carrier requirement is now "Phone that runs two OSes and a hypervisor, needs more RAM" your ODM will raise an eyebrow and raise your bill; but everything should otherwise slot neatly in to existing designs, and the per-megabyte cost of all that RAM will definitely be lower next year.

If you demand more battery capacity, on the other hand, you'll get "Sure, no problem, would you prefer to wait a decade for the nanotube/unobtanium cell to be perfected, or ship the fattest handset of the year? Oh, and it'll cost more."

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349856)

RAM for mobiles could be a bit more expensive though, has to use very little power.

BTW, Samsung also has dual sim phones. From quick Google search those are at least d880, c6112, d980, w629, b5722, b5702, c3212, c5212...so quite a lot.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349918)

Battery life is the real kicker. The very best commercially available batteries are just barely adequate for one smart phone OS, much less two trampling on one another. These phones will either last 3 hours, or hearken back to the "old school brick" form factor.

Battery life on any computer is a pain. I just gave up and kept a phone cord at work and at home. And that is only because I have had power cords break from being moved too much. Also when I get to the office or get home, I simply plug in my Nokia N800.

There was a time where a company, do not know the name, wish I did, was selling an external rechargeable battery. The one I was looking at cost between $150 - $300 per battery and was the size of a small laptop, but only about 1/2 inch thick. It was intended to be placed underneath the laptop and simply plug into the normal power outlet on the laptop. One guy used one of these for a 14 hour flight from North America to South East Asia, said he played DVDs all they way across the ocean and never lost battery power.

Perhaps that company, if it still exists, has an external rechargeable battery that you could clip to your phone or hand held computer so that you would have an extra 3 hours to 8 hours of battery life. Just thinking out loud as you are right battery life is a pain for all of us.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350344)

I used to see little packs you could get that held 2 AA batteries and plugged in a phone. I do not know if they make them for smartphones or just dumbphones though. I still have one for a Nokia 3100 somewhere around here.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

Yaodin (1694676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349818)

There is something for VOIP, check out iSkoot, it is a Blackberry app and allows you to call computers with your skype account for free or use your skype credit to call land lines. The voice quality is not all that great though and it is my no means integrated into the phone.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349834)

Virtualisation would have seemed this way on PCs in the 90s, with machines starved for then-expensive RAM. What I remember of virtualisation in the early days is it was slow and you'd never consider virtualising anything for a production environment. I would have laughed if you told me you could run 2,4,10 VMs feasibily on one server.

Of course, that smartphones will begin to follow moores law the same way, we'll see much more memory space and cpu horsepower in the same power envelope very soon, so any question of necessary resources (eventually) is moot.

Yet, it may be possible on existing hardware with some trickery, indeed VMs run fast now, almost native for some tasks, and this on x86. Yet, ARM is the default for smartphones, near native speed for ARM? Indeed we should throw out our experience on other platforms. The question then is how does virtualisation stack up on it? Is it a better or worse instruction set? Considering the x86 set needed additions to really speed up virtual machines.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349930)

Battery life is already the largest limiting factor for progress of smartphones.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349840)

Hmm. I think you need a new phone.

I'm able to do VOIP over 3g (north american AT&T using an "iphone" plan) using my Nokia E51 and VOIP service from callcentric.com. Callcentric even supports local number portability.

The 3g VOIP is pretty poor but it is good enough to see that I'm getting a call, answer it, and tell them I'll call back (either using the AT&T voice service or by switching my phone to a local wifi hotspot and calling them back using VOIP.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349878)

What, so the manufacturers should shoot themselves in the foot by providing dual-SIM? If they do that, then you won't need to buy two phones! There's a reason that most dual (or triple) SIM phones come from no-name Chinese manufacturers.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349960)

When I read this my first thought was that this is yet another sign that the difference between smartphones, netbooks, and even laptops and desktops is fading. The form factor is what remains mainly, as we can pack more and more computing power in smaller and smaller packages.

We can do things now on smartphones that 10, 15 years ago were just getting possible on an average desktop PC. And the gap is narrowing quickly. OS vendors (and VMWare is pretty much in that market) these days are of course looking at the smartphone as the next platform.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350004)

hey, don't blameVMWare because your phone doesn't have VoIP capabilities. If you have a cheap phone, you got what you paid. If you have a smartphone, you probably have a RIM device such as Blackberry. Their pre-2005 OS uses a Big Mistake (R) called RIMJ2ME, and is unable to do a stupid think (my Sound Blaster 16 did it 15 years ago) called full-duplex audio. Because of that, you cannot download, for example, Fring or Nimbuzz, and enjoy VoIP calls.

It's RIM fault... Indeed, some cellphones (Symbian-based Nokia) brings with native VoIP some years ago.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350250)

*Checks calendar* Yup, it's 2009. VOIP still not possible on my smartphone...

There are several SIP applications for Android. The best I've used is Fring which integrates part of skype, MSN, Gtalk and a few others. There is also [androlib.com] SIPDroid [androlib.com] but this is hit and miss with Australian VoIP providers.

It will be 2010 shortly and only we elitist open source people will enjoy VOIP on our mobile devices.

Re:great, so my phone can be even slower (1)

faragon (789704) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350404)

*Checks calendar* Yup, it's 2009. VOIP still not possible on my smartphone...

Check the Nokia N900 [google.com] ... and yes, it runs Linux.

From this point on.... (1, Interesting)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349734)

Who the Frack wants windows on their phone?

Re:From this point on.... (1, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349780)

Who the Frack wants windows on their phone?

Microsoft does.

Not sure about the customers, but I don't think they matter.

Re:From this point on.... (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350574)

score: 2, troll
so I guess that's a successful troll? :P

Re:From this point on.... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350724)

There should be a special category for the inconvenient truth. I'm personally trying to reach the +5 Troll, I know it ain't possible, but it hasn't stopped me from trying.

Re:From this point on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350368)

Why do you think they're only supporting dual OSs rather than triple?

Re:From this point on.... (3, Funny)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350606)

I do. Windows Mobile has still got the most useful apps, real multitasking and lots and lots of features and is also nice to develop for. I personally like it more than any other current mobile OS.

Re:From this point on.... (1)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350856)

I do. Windows Mobile has still got the most useful apps, real multitasking and lots and lots of features and is also nice to develop for. I personally like it more than any other current mobile OS.

Really - winmob has the most useful apps.

The Iphone has an app for everything :)

but seriously how about layar on Winmob or GoogleNavigation or Google Voice Search even TomTom seems to have become deprecated(?) on winmob.

My winmob has been trounced by Android and Ipod/Iphone apps and I do have all 3 and a Blackberry.

Although I did just develop a gps app for Winmob and apart from it crashing all the time (probably me) it was quite painless.

The real questions (3, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349736)

With Microsoft's OS lagging way behind the others in the mobile market, does VMware plan to convince Steve Ballmer that running other companies' OSes side-by-side with Windows Mobile will be a good way to regain market share?

VMware says virtualization can separate personal data and apps from work ones. But if the trend is for smartphone apps to be essentially browser-based, or at least built with Web standards, isn't running a hypervisor and multiple OS instances on a phone the very definition of overkill?

Equally important, if Apple is unwilling to allow even the Flash player onto iPhones, how does VMware figure it's going to convince Apple to run a hypervisor?

Oh wait, the last one is actually easy: VMware's release doesn't even mention Apple. Doesn't mention BlackBerry either. Or Symbian. Funny how this revolutionary, much-in-demand technology specifically excludes the top 85 percent of the smartphone market.

Re:The real questions (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349802)

It's not "top". It's simply...85 percent.

Re:The real questions (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349880)

It's the top 85 percent in the sense that the OSes with the largest market share are Symbian, BlackBerry, and iPhone, in that order. Windows Mobile, Android, and Linux combined barely rival iPhone's third-place market share.

VMware's software doesn't just run on also-rans; it only runs on also-rans.

Re:The real questions (1)

ElNotto (517377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350650)

Global smartphone sales numbers for q3 2009:

Symbian:......46.2% or 34% depending on source
Blackberry:...20.6%
iPhone: ........17.8%
Win Mobile:.....8.8% or 4% depending on source
Android:..........7%
Palm WebOS: 4%

Source: http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?937 [lukew.com]

Re:The real questions (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350754)

You're mixing two different sources there, and one of them is based on counting ads served to various platforms. Why not just stick with all the numbers from Canalys [canalys.com] (the source for your figures on Symbian, BlackBerry, and iPhone)?

Symbian: 46.2%
BlackBerry: 20.6%
iPhone: 17.8%
Microsoft: 8.8%
Android: 3.5%
Others: 3.2%

As such, my earlier statement stands: VMware's product addresses less than 16 percent of the total smartphone market.

Re:The real questions (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350272)

This will be useful for running several versions of Android on the same device without having to re-flash them and in some cases lose most of your settings. There's also Maemo and WinMo accounts for more then 15% of the mobile market, especially as outside the US hosted blackberry services haven't been as successful.

Re:The real questions (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350480)

There's also Maemo . . .

I believe that's included under the heading of "Linux/Other," along with Palm WebOS.

. . . and WinMo accounts for more then 15% of the mobile market

Care to back that up? No respectable figure I've seen puts it that high, and Gartner's latest figures suggest it's about half that. [zdnet.co.uk] (And if you can't trust Gartner to inflate figures in Microsoft's favor, whom can you trust?)

VMWare has its place (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349740)

But it is also overused by people who don't want to configure their operating system. The big advantage they have is the ability to seamlessly move a VM between different bits of hardware. I don't see that being proposed here.

It might actually be handy to move an image from my eeepc to my openmoko, and then back again later. In practice I just run compatible applications where I need an interface to work. The wholesale copying of images would make merging a problem as well.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350444)

But it is also overused by people who don't want to configure their operating system.
What?
What do you mean by that?
You may have a point, I just don't understand what you're trying to say.

Who watches the watchers... (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349812)

I can not be the only person who sees a problem with a restricted virtual layer running underneath the operating system on any device that I own. I would not put up with tethering, I will not put up with that.

I do not have a problem with a virtual layer running under the OS on a system I own, as long as I have 100% access and control to that virtual layer. Meaning I can remove, reconfigure, reinstall and tweak it as I see fit. The last thing any of us need is for some entity to not only track us, but monitor our communications, without a warrant, 24 X 7.

Hey Intel (some of you reading this might not be aware of this fact) has processors that phone home and communicate without the user being aware of it. It would be pathetic to have to run a passive sniffer on your personal network to monitor for unusual, unscheduled or abnormal outgoing traffic. Pathetic but to be 100% secure absolutely necessary. (Fortunately a DD-WRT supported device! [dd-wrt.com] will allow you to do just that!)

So any cellular phone that had a "restricted" virtual layer would be foolish to purchase, bring home and use. Hopefully everyone has learned their lessons from useless tethering and other such restrictions.

Its not about FREE, its about control and access, that is your only security.

Do you have the ability to tell your phone that while you are at home you ONLY want to use your WiFi broadband network and NOT your cellular plan. A "smart" phone would give you that capability.

Re:Who watches the watchers... (2, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349898)

Uhm...mobile phones already must have a closed source code in them - the radio signaling stack. Mandated by FCC in the case of US.

(oh, if you are throwing away your smartphone because of what you've just learned...could you spend a little time and sent it to me? (only if it's a quad band GSM) I cover the cost of shipping of course)

Re:Who watches the watchers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30350020)

OK "Neo", it's time for your thorazine.

Re:Who watches the watchers... (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351128)

Hey Intel (some of you reading this might not be aware of this fact) has processors that phone home and communicate without the user being aware of it. It would be pathetic to have to run a passive sniffer on your personal network to monitor for unusual, unscheduled or abnormal outgoing traffic. Pathetic but to be 100% secure absolutely necessary. (Fortunately a DD-WRT supported device! [dd-wrt.com] will allow you to do just that!)

If there's one moderation that Slashdot really needs, it's +1 Paranoid Schizophrenic.

Help (1)

fucket (1256188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349844)

Will this run on my StarTAC?

At what point does the VM become another OS? (2, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349900)

I know that we are talking specifically about phone based VMs here and that the issue of better OS vs VM has been discussed before, but I cannot understand why we need to virtualize any time an OS is involved. Perhaps I am missing something? If the hypervisor becomes, essentially, the operating system why is it not possible to integrate the process isolation and partitioning features of the hypervisor into the OS in the first place? Are these types of features even really needed on the more limited environments offered by phones (even smartphones)? I agree that virtualization is a valuable technology that has its uses, but sometimes it seems that virtualization and VMs are becoming the proverbial golden hammers [wikipedia.org] (along with the ubiquitous "cloud" computing).

Re:At what point does the VM become another OS? (1)

rdebath (884132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350648)

I can summarise the problem in one word. Windows.

No! Stop! I'm not trying to bash Windows. It's a simple fact the Microsoft strongly recommend that you use one machine for one application and never add a second job and it's not just for license revenue. It's because problems leak between the applications. Registry "corruptions", "everything needs a reboot", DLL versions being always system wide ("DLL hell"). Some applications demanding particular OS configurations, others demanding the opposite (eg: exchange and network adaptors). Quite simply if I'm ever touching an SBS machine it feels like I'm walking on eggs or trying to sneak through a pride of sleeping lions.

However, for most users this Windows recommendation is very wasteful and a virtual machines reduce the costs associated with having lots of copies of the OS, it's even cheaper overall when you have to buy more processing power to offset all those copies of the OS that are running. Especially if you factor in system downtime and employee stress!

OTOH the only application that's normally put onto a different machine with unix is the firewall; then only maybe. With unix distinct machines tend to be used only for things like testing vs. live applications or company A vs company B where you have an actual security issue to address.

Still I expect Windows VMs are going to drop off a little now; Windows 2008 is often as wasteful of resources as Vista (despite "core" mode).

Mobile hardware already does this, sort of (1)

BodeNGE (1664379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349920)

Most modern ARM/Snapdragon based devices can run either WinMo, Android or Linux. HTC as a vendor has been making the exact same hardware run with either OS for several years and only switched on Android when it was ready. They even could have dual booted their Shift device between real Windows and Windows Mobile except for pedantic licencing restrictions. I'm not sure a third pary software VM is really the best way of implementing this though, especially with sharred data storage and databases (contacts, etc) between the two. you also have the problem of hard resetting the device (and the data store) and upgrades to one or both of the OS'es.

Good (1)

Nithendil (1637041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350006)

I can actually use this software. I was considering getting an Android phone but Epocrates doesn't make a version available for that.

better sandbox than Java VM on single processor (1)

ad454 (325846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350094)

Unfortunately, wireless carriers and regulators want to put restrictions on the radio and other mobile smart phone functionality. The common solution on single processor devices is to run third party applications in a sandbox, like Android's Java VM, and require application signing.

Virtualization can be a provide a less restrictive common environment sandbox, that is not tied to a specific programming language, that can meet the desires of the carrier on cheaper (single processor) hardware, and still protect a software radio, DRM, and other functions from third party apps running in a VM.

However, it would not surprise me if practice future cellphones have an evolved hypervisor that provides different levels of VM based on functionality, with the lower VM levels restricted to carrier sign apps that can do almost anything; middle VM levels for manufacture signed apps that can access networking, gps, SMS, storage, camera, video/audio playback, etc.; and top crippled VM levels for unsigned apps that can't do much.

Unfortunately, history has taught us that the more control designers can put on a system, the more likely that control will be used to restrict the public at the expense of corporate and government interests.

WTF? (1)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350302)

I didn't think cell phones were powerful enough to run VMs, or even full operating systems. That's what laptops are for. No, I don't want my cell phone to replace my laptop. Random shit I might need to do without my laptop, like check the weather, my email, or even read the paper, is nice on cell phone. Virtualization? What the fuck? You know they made this great invention - a full fledged computer you can fit in your backpack, it only weighs about 5 pounds, and does everything your desktop does, it's called a laptop, you can even install a SIP client on it and make phone calls.

intel vs arm (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350366)

So this will allow my intel-based linux applications to be run on an ARM based smartphone?
that would be cool...

Re:intel vs arm (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350924)

No, virtualization != emulation. The performance overhead of binary translation from x86 to ARM would throttle your phone.

Instead one could run ARM linux applications on an ARM phone.

Re:intel vs arm (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30350948)

The performance overhead of binary translation from x86 to ARM would throttle your phone.

Ok, but you could perform a translation on your x86, before transferring the app to your phone, no?

Re:intel vs arm (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351004)

Compiling from source, yes. But that's not 'virtualization'. AOT translation of x86 machine code to ARM, no.

I'm not following what binary-only x86 software you'd want to run on a phone. ARM linux distros already exist, e.g. Nokia's maemo.

Re:intel vs arm (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351040)

If translation from source to ARM binary code is possible, then why isn't translation from x86 binary code to ARM binary code possible? I mean, most programming languages are much more complicated than the x86 instruction set, right?

Anyway, there's of course plenty of non-open-source stuff that runs under linux. It would be nice if it could be transferred to another platform. Same holds for (x86) windows apps by the way.

Re:intel vs arm (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351126)

Because machine instructions spat out by a C compiler are optimised for each particular CPU. Writing a 'compiler' to translate binary x86 to ARM would be far less efficient than compiling source code for each platform due to the architectural differences between the platforms.

That's just life... Phones are generally less powerful than desktop machines that they often seem constrained running native software let alone running someone else's binaries.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?