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Android Phones Get Virtualization

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-both-run-doom dept.

Cellphones 122

bednarz writes "VMware is teaming with LG to sell Android smartphones that are virtualized, allowing a single phone to run two operating systems, one for business use and one for personal use. A user's personal email and applications would run natively on the Android phone, while a guest operating system contains the employee's work environment. The devices would also have two phone numbers."

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Cool idea (3, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472938)

Although I'd appreciate a phone that, for once, did the basic things right first. Like with car stereos, I have yet to find a device that does not have one or more major annoyances.

Re:Cool idea (5, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473128)

I have yet to find a device that does not have one or more major annoyances.

And honestly, you never will. That's not a criticism of you, because I'm willing to bet all but a rare few feels the same way. This is to be expected with developing a single product with mass appeal. You can't make everyone happy or else there wouldn't be a new to constantly re-invent the GUI.

Re:Cool idea (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473190)

I'm guessing that the "smartphone" market isn't for you. It is still deep in "iterate like crazy and see what sticks" territory. One of Nokia's classic candybars might be more your style...

Re:Cool idea (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473194)

Although I'd appreciate a phone that, for once, did the basic things right first. Like with car stereos, I have yet to find a device that does not have one or more major annoyances.

Most phones have those annoyances, but our problem is that we constantly shift expectations of what "the basic things" are. Not long ago, basic meant "voice". So if you go back to basic old Motorola phones, the voice was fine but they had clunky speed dial memory schemes. Fast forward a few years, and we had good voice and contact lists, but SMS was awful. Then came Bluetooth and MP3 players, most of which were slow and/or crashed often, but SMS was improved with T9. Now we have phones that do voice, music, Bluetooth, MMS, etc., but web surfing is awful. Or the walled gardens chafe. Or something else is annoying.

Truly basic phones (large-face screens, number-only buttons, no features to do anything else) sell well with a certain group of people who no longer wish to learn the latest in technology on an annual basis, and they are fine at what they do. But of course that may be "too basic" for average tastes these days.

Re:Cool idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473534)

Truly basic phones (large-face screens, number-only buttons, no features to do anything else) sell well with a certain group of people who no longer wish to learn the latest in technology on an annual basis

That group being "old farts and lazy bastards who think reading a 10-page manual written in 3rd-grade English is an unreasonably heavy burden". Gotcha. Or those who think that some terrible irreparable consequence will happen that will doom all life on Earth if they tried pushing a button to see what it does. To both I say fuck 'em, throw them under the bus. Let them adapt to the modern world or become irrelevant. Quit trying to coddle them, let them make that choice.

and they are fine at what they do

Separating the stupid from their money? Ensuring that marketers have continued employment?

Re:Cool idea (3, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473642)

Though I agree with the OP that even with smartphones, basic things are being overlooked.

I'd argue the address book has been a basic feature since early cell phones. And yet even on the iPhone 4 (arguably one of the most advanced phones on the planet) I can't manage groups of contacts. I need a third party app to do that for me.

Re:Cool idea (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474242)

You just aren't thinking at the right level. Basic no longer means "good call quality" or "usable, featureful contact management". It means "can run apps and expose all data via an api". This is good and bad; you can get an app to do exactly what you want but you have to pay for it and you have to trust that the publisher isn't out to do nasty things to your phone. Take the Blackberry as the counterpoint... The RIM-sponsored app market is pitiful because, in part, the phones do almost everything the user could want. Apple couldn't boast about the 1,000,000 apps in it's app store if the phone did enough to not create the need for apps... And what do you think earns Apple more money, handset sales or app store sales?

Re:Cool idea (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474680)

No the RIM phones do not, they just charge so much for the apps no one buys them, thus no one makes more apps.

Re:Cool idea (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475150)

Sorry, but this is a pitifully dumb retort... The app authors set the price for apps and can even sell apps without involving themselves at all in the RIM "app world" ecosystem. If the price was wrong the authors are to blame and should correct it. The big difference is that on the BB, apps and the "app world" aren't shoved down the user's throat. The phone with stock free pre-installed apps does 95% of what any productive person could want.

Re:Cool idea (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477994)

I shall start listing things then
VNC
RDP
SSH
Stay unlocked when phone is at an angle, ie what screeble does
Google maps, for driving

Need any more?

Re:Cool idea (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474138)

Truly basic phones (large-face screens, number-only buttons, no features to do anything else) sell well with a certain group of people who no longer wish to learn the latest in technology on an annual basis, and they are fine at what they do. But of course that may be "too basic" for average tastes these days.

The problem is that they decidedly *aren't* fine at what they do considering the sliding scale of technology. Call quality has not gone up. Usable signal technology has not gone up. Battery life has only marginally gone up. Handset makers are focused on two thigns: 1) keeping up with the iphone, and 2) making a ton of money on super cheap dumbphone handsets. There exists no dumbphone handset that really excels from a perfection perspective, probably because the profit just isn't there.

Re:Cool idea (1)

ticklemeozmo (595926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475180)

Most phones have those annoyances, but our problem is that we constantly shift expectations of what "the basic things" are. Not long ago, basic meant "voice".

Basic still means "voice". Ask any AT&T Customer. BA-ZING!

Re:Cool idea (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474278)

But officer, I wasn't talking or texting on my phone while driving, I was switching operating systems!

Re:Cool idea (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474966)

did the basic things right first

I've had two phones that were awesome in this regard. First was the Motorola V360. I could be in a conference call while walking down 1st Ave in NYC, and no one would hear the street noise - and the volume was loud enough to hear the call. The other is a Sony Ericsson TM560, which is not as loud or noise-proof as the V360, but makes up for it by having a pretty good speaker phone. People often don't know I'm on speaker.

Computing Power? (4, Interesting)

Halborr (1373599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472956)

This actually sounds... Like a great idea to have two numbers reach the same phone. My worry is the battery consumption will go through the roof (on a piece of technology that already doesn't have the greatest battery life times) and that computing resources will be in short supply on a mobile device (which brings us back to power consumption).

Re:Computing Power? (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473102)

That's what I was thinking. Wouldn't "duel booting" make more sense? You could still keep work separate from business, without the overhead of running two systems concurrently.

Re:Computing Power? (5, Funny)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473156)

10 paces, turn, and launch your operating system?

Re:Computing Power? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473318)

10 paces, turn, and launch your operating system?

There's already enough fighting going on in the cell phone industry (FUD, marketing 'almost not-lies', lawsuits, etc) TYVM.

Re:Computing Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473510)

Whooosh.

Re:Computing Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473598)

Read the reply. I think he got it but just wasn't funny.

Re:Computing Power? (4, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473296)

"Dual booting" would mean you couldn't get a call or text on your "personal" number while your phone was booted into "work" mode. It also means you couldn't get a "work" call or text while your phone was booted into "personal" mode (clearly not as bad the the first one but an issue none the less).

Re:Computing Power? (0)

multisync (218450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474468)

So employees wouldn't be taking personal calls on company time, and work wouldn't be encroaching on yours during off hours. Sounds like a win/win to me.

The issue of company data on employee-owned devices (and vice versa) is an important one, though, and likely to become a bigger one as companies that have deployed tech like BES Express allow employees to activate their own devices on company servers. RIM has said future versions will allow for segregation between company and employee owned data, sort of along the same line as what TFA discusses, but I don't think they will be using virtualization to do it.

I still think the best policy is to issue company-owned devices for business use only and require people to turn their personal cell phones off during work hours.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474750)

So then you can't get a call when your wife has a car accident?

I will not carry two phones, I will carry them one at a time so better not try to call me after 5 in such a system.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474888)

I think receiving an emergency call on your company phone alerting you to the fact that your wife has been involved in a car accident would fall under "acceptable use" in most companies.

Personal calls on company-owned devices are far more likely to be along the lines of "Mom, Bobby won't let me play Guitar Hero and it's my turn."

Re:Computing Power? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477942)

Simple solution. The Xbox goes in the gun safe for a week.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

Moxon (139555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476556)

I like having two phones, so I can turn the work phone off and leave it at my desk when I go home for the day.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473676)

I don't think dual-booting, running a VM or anything like that is necessary. It will just make me sit and wait on my phone. Simply having segregated address books is enough. When I receive a text message, if the sender is in my personal address book, then it is kept seperate.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474214)

The thing keeping me from using my personal iPhone with my work's exchange server is that I don't want my personal appointments from showing up in the work calendar. Blacklisting the home VM and syncing the work VM would be a nice touch.

Re:Computing Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474710)

They don't for me. On my iPhone, I have personal appointments on one Exchange server and work's on another, and neither interferes, nor shows up on the other.

Re:Computing Power? (2)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474224)

I don't think a VM is overkill at all for corporate use.

I currently carry a company smartphone, and there are all sorts of restrictions on what I can do with it. In addition, that device carries company confidential data. There is the possibility that I could install malware on the phone that compromises the data, and yet Corporate doesn't want to be ridiculously draconian about their policies because they understand we use these devices for a limited amount of personal use as well, and as long as it doesn't cost the company money (data/minutes overages, buying ringtones, etc) they are OK with it.

However, the fact that it's a company phone makes it less convenient. It locks after 15 minutes, I can't install certain apps like the latest Google Maps (because Google Maps 4 for Blackberry demands ALLOW access to everything on the phone, including company encrypted data, and no fucking way would I allow that even if my company policy didn't wisely block it). Fortunately, the Blackberry has a nice firewall system and with any apps I install I can allow/disallow access to various bits, so I routinely make sure that anything "corporate" is set to BLOCK for any "personal" apps I run, but a lot of apps still need the contacts list and others. Your idea of separating contact lists is a good one, but it's not sufficient - if a poorly-behaved app is running on the same operating system, it still might get access to something it shouldn't.

With a system like this, my company could issue me a phone with two SIM slots and two operating systems. If I want to use it for personal use, I jack in my SIM to slot #1 and I have a nice smartphone to use on my plan. The company puts their SIM in slot 2 and builds as draconian a control system as they please into it, and it's isolated from anything I might decide to do to "my" side of the phone. If I leave the company, they either take their SIM and wipe their OS and give me the phone, or I take my SIM and wipe my OS and give them the phone so they can reissue it to someone else. In either case, my personal phone remains my personal one, and the company phone ceases to exist.

The company can issue you a completely restrictive phone and you can carry a completely unrestricted phone, they just happen to be in the same device.

Sure, you could carry two devices, but then you've got to keep two devices charged, remember two devices, etc.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478772)

Its false security though. You are assuming that the apps you install on your side of the phone cant find a way to attack the hypervisor to gain control of it. If you install a app on the personal side of the phone that is malicious, and is tailored to attack the hypervisor then in theory it could get any data it would need... The only true security here is two separate phones.

Re:Computing Power? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473226)

Multiple SIM support has been around for years(typically not on US carrier locked stuff; but weirdo Chinese cheapies and retail-unlocked jet-setter devices do it standard, in addition to the slightly shady "16-in-one-SIM" hack/consolidation kits.

The real trick(though I'm not sure that virtualization is a good answer) is getting the vastly increased amount of user state, some of it either personally or business sensitive, separated in some logical way...

Re:Computing Power? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473464)

Like a great idea to have two numbers reach the same phone.

This is really old stuff. In countries which are predominantly GSM, you can buy a Dual SIM phone
for as less as 50$ (without any subsidy from a carrier).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_SIM [wikipedia.org]

And even before this, you had hacks to make a single SIM phone accept 2 SIMs.

http://www.duosim.com/ [duosim.com]

Re:Computing Power? (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474186)

IAAMTE ( I am a mobile telecommunication engineer).

Why do you think the phone number is on the phone or on the SIM ? Having two phone numbers doesn't require dual SIM and/or dual radio stack. In fact, there are solutions available to give roamers a prepaid local number. It doesn't make a lot of sense commercially as roaming fees are a cash cow, so you won't see lots of implementations, but it's quite easy to do.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474536)

"This actually sounds... Like a great idea to have two numbers reach the same phone."

You can have that now with Skype on the iPhone. Incoming skype calls will ring just like a regular call but with a different ringtone and it works rather well over 3G but you do have to have a steady 3G or WiFi connection, if you venture to areas that drop down to Edge service then you won't receive Skype calls anymore.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474664)

Edge is for AT&T in Verizon those areas get a randomly slower and slower speed until you get something with half the bandwidth of Edge but it is still labeled as 3G.

Talk about adding confusion.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474720)

I am pretty sure this is far more like openvz than vmware. Meaning the two guests share one kernel.

Re:Computing Power? (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478718)

This actually sounds... Like a great idea to have two numbers reach the same phone. My worry is the battery consumption will go through the roof (on a piece of technology that already doesn't have the greatest battery life times) and that computing resources will be in short supply on a mobile device (which brings us back to power consumption).

Honestly the ability to have 2 phones numbers tied to one device has been around for a long time, well before Android entered the scene. Most phones support a dual NAM configuration that allowed this very feature. The only difference is the text messages, and what line the call was coming in on was not always made very clear. The only thing that is new here is separating the work and play environments at the O/S level. I'm not sure if this is really going to provide any true security...

Print version (4, Informative)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472960)

I'd appreciate a link to the print version, like this [networkworld.com]

forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data pla (2)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473000)

forced to pay a add a line fee for line 2 + a 2th data plan? Can you have dual os with 1 number?

Re:forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473148)

Well, if one of your phone OSes is for business, I'd assume that the business will pay for at least that data and phone plan.

Re:forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473404)

I can see where somebody who works for themselves wouldn't want to buy two separate plans, but then they have less need to keep things strictly separate anyway. But two virtual phones sharing one number doesn't make much sense either, since you wouldn't know which one should take a particular call.

I think the best solution would be a new service option for these phones, where you just pay an extra $5/mo to get a second number on the same device. Just as the better ISPs allow you to get a second IP address for a reasonable fee.

Re:forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473734)

'I think the best solution would be a new service option for these phones, where you just pay an extra $5/mo to get a second number on the same device.'

If you're ok with your bosses carrier only.

more like $5-$10 add a line + $30-$60 data plan ad (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476394)

more like $5-$10 add a line + $30-$60 data plan add a line.

Re:forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474408)

The OS should be able to switch profiles automatically. If I receive a call from a contact that's marked as a client/professional contact, then use the professional profile. If it's from my drinking buddy, go to personal. If it's my design partner (professional AND personal contact), then use the time of day or schedule to select - if I'm in a meeting or it's business hours, use professional - otherwise use personal.

Re:forced to pay a line fee for line 2 + 2th data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474840)

one number and two google voice numbers might work...

Cool (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473008)

In the early 70s I bought phones for my group that could have two numbers. As soon as we went to Brazil I opened accounts and the phones worked there on the second number. This was much, much less expensive and less complicated than renting phones and we could receive calls from the US.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474460)

Was this a time traveling trip to the early 70s?

Out of Reach (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473122)

I think this is a great idea. If your personal phone and work phones are kept separate and only one can be used at a time, you wouldn't be tethered to work 24 hours a day anymore. You can actually have an excuse to respond to emails the next day instead of at 4 AM.

Would my employer be able to wipe my phone? (2)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473136)

I wonder whether this capability saves a user from an employer's ability to wipe the user's data remotely. How is this concern addressed?

Re:Would my employer be able to wipe my phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473188)

If they spent more than the 30 seconds I thought about it, thinking about it, I'm sure that they'd have thought of a way to only wipe the work VM.

Re:Would my employer be able to wipe my phone? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473250)

Presumably, the employer would be able to nuke the "work" VM from orbit at their pleasure; but would have no access to the "nonwork" VM...

Re:Would my employer be able to wipe my phone? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474202)

Unless the phone itself was provided by the employer to ensure that the employee had both a business phone so they can be reached, and a personal plan they they themselves pay for. I imagine this is possible because I feel like employers will be hesitant to allow a business phone to be virtualized and run on non vetted hardware.

In that scenario I could see employers desiring the ability to nuke both the work VM and personal OS at will.

Re:Would my employer be able to wipe my phone? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475370)

Possibly the contrary: The VM the employer's stuff runs in is not only standardized hardware, but they can also reasonably expect to manage that virtual hardware to the fullest extent, including firewall-like features, and the above-mentioned ability to guilt-free nuke the VM from orbit without worrying about lawsuits about personal data.

Solution in-search of a problem? (2)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473160)

Isn't this a little overkill? I mean the only thing that sounded good about it was the whole "two numbers" thing - but you can do that without virtualizaing complete operating systems.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (4, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473314)

Isn't this a little overkill? I mean the only thing that sounded good about it was the whole "two numbers" thing - but you can do that without virtualizaing complete operating systems.

Two numbers is good...

But if you virtualize an entire second phone you can have entirely separate calendars, phone books, apps, all of it. You can keep your personal life genuinely separate from your work environment.

And when you get a new job, and leave your employer, they can wipe out the virtual environment without deleting everything in your personal environment.

Sounds like a great idea to me.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473436)

The point is - for example - on my iPhone I *can* keep separate calendars - which are synchronized from completey different sources - Gmail (for my personal calendar, and my Wife's calendar) - and Exchange for my Work Calendar.

I also have two Email accounts as such.

The best part here - is I can optionally display these calendar entries together on one calendar - or turn off calendars for simpler views. So if I want to put an entry on one of my calendars - I have a view that shows me potential conflicts on *all* my calendars. If I want to check my email - I have one place to look that shows me *all* my email.

When I leave my company - my Gmail notes, mail and calendar is all there and ready to be paired up with my new device - or if I keep the device - I just need to disconnect from my corporate exchange server.

This is vastly superior than having multiple different virtualized environments that are completely separate - requiring me to look through each one any time I want to do something.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473526)

That's fine, except when you leave your job the company can remotely wipe your ENTIRE phone, not just the Exchange data.
http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/11/23/2050239/When-Your-Company-Remote-Wipes-Your-Personal-Phone

Separate VMs for work/personal data would solve this issue.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473894)

The point is - for example - on my iPhone I *can* keep separate calendars - which are synchronized from completey different sources - Gmail (for my personal calendar, and my Wife's calendar) - and Exchange for my Work Calendar.

I also have two Email accounts as such.

The best part here - is I can optionally display these calendar entries together on one calendar - or turn off calendars for simpler views. So if I want to put an entry on one of my calendars - I have a view that shows me potential conflicts on *all* my calendars. If I want to check my email - I have one place to look that shows me *all* my email.

When I leave my company - my Gmail notes, mail and calendar is all there and ready to be paired up with my new device - or if I keep the device - I just need to disconnect from my corporate exchange server.

This is vastly superior than having multiple different virtualized environments that are completely separate - requiring me to look through each one any time I want to do something.

And then your employer uses that handy "remote wipe" feature and wipes out your entire phone - both the business and personal information.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474990)

^--- This.

The people in this thread saying there is no use for this obviously either have never heard of remote wipe, or have not had to accept it to connect their device to their work Exchange server.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34478836)

And then your employer uses that handy "remote wipe" feature and wipes out your entire phone - both the business and personal information.

Why is this an issue? A remote wipe would cause me to lose the past several days of phone history: call logs, game data, recent photos, etc.

All the rest (and older copies of above) are backed up regularly on sync (iPhone). Don't you do proper backups?

For the work and personal-related mails and such, it's all on IMAP or Exchange. Even contacts and calendars are served via CalDAV/CardDAV or Exchange, so that's not an issue either.

If you're concerned about remote wipe, simply refuse to link your employer's Exchange servers with your phone without proper terms, or have them pay for your phone.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474616)

I have an iPhone, and am interested in the "multiple calendar" feature you mentioned. Is there a way of preventing your personal contacts and calendar events from populating your exchange calendar? I'd rather not have my boss/team know when/where I'm going to be when I'm on my own time.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474754)

Yes - when you put events into a calendar - they go into a *specific* calendar. You phone can display multiples - but looking from the "origin" of one of the calendars (either Exchange or Gmail, for example) - you can't see the other calendars, because the entries aren't in them.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473800)

That's more easily achieved by truly keeping your work and personal life separate, and not using your personal phone for work matters. (And conversely, if you are issued with a work phone, don't use it for personal things).

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473962)

That's more easily achieved by truly keeping your work and personal life separate, and not using your personal phone for work matters. (And conversely, if you are issued with a work phone, don't use it for personal things).

I do not personally find it easier to carry two physical phones around.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473960)

As long as I can make backups of the work VM contents (address book, mailbox, etc), what is the point of being able to wipe it out remotely? Corporations with this concern in mind should seek for solutions where the data is never replicated to the users' device.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474806)

If the device is never on the users device, the user can never see it. If you display it you must store it in ram at least, and if I have root I can record that all I want.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474232)

Point taken, I just doubt that this is the simple way to do it instead of using improved applications and a hardware slot for a 2nd SIM card.

Re:Solution in-search of a problem? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473366)

Isn't this a little overkill? I mean the only thing that sounded good about it was the whole "two numbers" thing - but you can do that without virtualizaing complete operating systems.

What? You mean something like separate logins for separate users? User accounts with 'fast user switching'?? Like we have on non-cellphone computers??? You sir are a dreamer.

Hmm... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473174)

While, obviously, virtualization is the technology that VMware is going to throw at any use case, since "when all you have is a hammer, etc." It seems like a really hackish approach.

Virtualization, in my server/workstation experience, has three major benefits: 1. Migration: Assuming a decent SAN setup and some fastish interconnects, your VM can float merrily from physical server to physical server with periods of unresponsiveness under .1 second. Allows you to skip some of the really expensive "zOMG this particular piece of hardware must never, ever, ever die even once in the next decade" add-ons without compromising uptime. 2. Near-perfect compatibility with legacy software: Barring really esoteric stuff that is depending on being right next to the metal of some specific archaic box, all the legacy crapware out there needs to know absolutely nothing about virtualization in order to virtualize. Virtualization aware OSes can make life a bit easier; but there is nothing stopping you from running almost any obsolete crap you need to run on a virtual machine that looks exactly like something from 1995, only with a 3 GHz processor and loads of RAM. 3. Isolation and rollback, particularly for workstations, being able to call up, experiment on, roll back, and delete OS instances makes doing potentially dangerous things safe.

However, all these things are either irrelevant to cellphones(unless your cellphone has SAN storage and a GB link to the redundant cellphone in your other pocket...) or artefacts of the fact that legacy software largely sucks at things like isolation and versioning. Virtualization, like the AMD64 instruction set, is massively popular because it allows the power of architectures that don't suck without giving up legacy software that runs on architectures that do. With something like Android, though, an almost-totally-new OS is being built from near-scratch to suit a new set of requirements. Virtualization seems very heavy handed compared to something like having isolated namespaces and URI "domains" into which programs can be confined...

Re:Hmm... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473648)

Actually, Android is built upon a virtual machine tech [android.com] that is pretty close to what you just described.

Well, close as in free beer. But VMWare is almost layering on VMs to a VM (Dalvik). Interesting. Dual phone numbers are already possible, either with dual SIMS or some CDMA witchery in silicon, and split personalities are something RIM has dabbled in. Android makes this much easier, since it is so close to Linux that work on one can be brought to the other without building from scratch.

We'll see, but I, for one, welcome our virtual Android overlords. Gotta be a way to assimilate this technology to my personal benefit.

Re:Hmm... (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473712)

...Virtualization, in my server/workstation experience, has three major benefits: 1. Migration: Assuming a decent SAN setup and some fastish interconnects, your VM can float merrily from physical server to physical server with periods of unresponsiveness under .1 second. Allows you to skip some of the really expensive "zOMG this particular piece of hardware must never, ever, ever die even once in the next decade" add-ons without compromising uptime...

Virtualization = What's Single point of failure?

Now you have a box that can kill 10 servers instead of 1
Now you have a SAN that can kill 100 servers.

Virtualization was a corporate directive at my job. Our incident numbers did not change, but the impact of every outage was orders of magnitude worse after virtualization. It has not been very fun :-/. HP sold our executive management on it, so the path is set... But we have 4x as many servers now because we need multi-site and same site redundancy, and that means we need 2 different "server image" SANs at each site, each with all the redundancy and backup that go with it. The cost has been much higher than our previous "hardware model", and less reliable. But of course reliability is our bonus metric, not his.

Re:Hmm... (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475296)

I think you're doing it wrong.

The bit you quoted at the start of your post describes how to it can be done right so that you are not dependent on a single machine or storage unit. If you have set it up so that a single machine can kill 10 servers or a disk failure can kill 100 servers then you are not doing it right. If you don't understand how to do this, you should get some training.

Re:Hmm... (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475594)

I wish I had control over it, it is all HP contracts. I didn't even get a vote, I just have to support the software on it.

Re:Hmm... (1)

vuke69 (450194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475486)

If you virtualized everything and ended up with more hardware and worse reliability, you're doing something wrong.

Re:Hmm... (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475634)

less hardware more "logical servers" but worse reliability to be sure. Any time we tank the SAN by over utilization or any time out "redundant" SAN controller has to fail over we have massive reboots...
I understand that it can be done better, but it can also be done worse. I am just whining because all of my servers suck now, as a direct result of the virtualization path that was handed to me. I support the software, which always gets the blame, regardless of the hardware issues.

Re:Hmm... (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473856)

Virtualization, in my server/workstation experience, has three major benefits

And yet you don't mention sandboxing, which is one of the things this article touches on.

*Many* people around here have advocated VMs as a way to protect your personal data from potentially malicious software, to the point of even suggesting browsers should be run under such an environment. The fact that *you* don't see that as a benefit doesn't mean said benefit doesn't exist.

Re:Hmm... (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476874)

However, all these things are either irrelevant to cellphones(unless your cellphone has SAN storage and a GB link to the redundant cellphone in your other pocket...) or artefacts of the fact that legacy software largely sucks at things like isolation and versioning.

The legacy software compatibility think is pretty much exactly the use case for this, since it allows the business VM to present exactly the environment that the business organization wants (e.g., a standard, controlled environment for the apps the business uses) independently of configuration changes made to the users personal environment (including such things as OS updates on the personal environment.)

So, no, I don't think all virtual advantages you point to are irrelevant to phones.

interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473184)

Admittedly, I find this very cool. I'll be interested to see how this works out in the real world. What will performance be like? I know when I virtualize desktop machines, performance is anything but stellar. What will battery life be like? How many people will actually want their personal phone and thier business phone to be mixed? Do you have two separate service plans with two separate bills? Who will pay the bill(s)? Lots of questions, few answers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Re:interesting (2)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474454)

How many people will actually want their personal phone and thier business phone to be mixed?

Let me start the count for you. ONE! :)

Do you have two separate service plans with two separate bills?

Ideally, yes. Many phones (non-US-carrier-locked ones, anyway) can take two SIM chips and even from two separate carriers. Company issues you a phone with their SIM and a VM pointing to that SIM. If you want a personal plan, you go to your carrier of choice(*) and buy a month-to-month SIM (or go to a convenience store and pick up a prepaid SIM if you don't plan on using your side of it a lot) or plug your personal SIM from your personal phone into the company one.

That way, if you overuse your data, you and your company are not having a conversation about "personal use".

A generous company might even pay for the personal plan, or help subsidize it, but worst case they are giving you a smartphone that doesn't come with a 2-year ETF agreement. And it's a smartphone they'll be comfortable giving you, since they can secure the crap out of their bits of it without affecting your bits.

(*) Of course, the downside in the US is that you're pretty much stuck with your company's carrier unless the phone's got an impressive array of radios, since even the SIM-based carriers in the US use different and incompatible signalling technologies (most GSM carriers work fine for voice or EDGE, but get into 3G+ territory and it's a minefield, and of course Verizon and a few others use completely different tech). I suppose they could built a phone that can support many technologies simultaneously or make the radios modular, but that brings the build cost up and the phone gets bigger.

Good idea (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473206)

It seems like this is a solution to the problem of corporate policies wiping personal data from employees' phones [slashdot.org] . I wonder if one of the phone numbers can be automatically diverted to voicemail outside office hours.

Re:Good idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473290)

there is already a solution to this: DON'T give them access to your personal phone. if your job requires you to have a corporate phone, then the company should be giving you that phone.

Re:Good idea (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475292)

And then there's the people who don't want to carry two phones.

meh. (1)

furrymitn (1681200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473224)

So... it'll need twice the good stuff(proc, memory) in order to run the same speed as what some of the newer *roid phones do. Means that pricing won't be that wonderful, even on a subsidized plan. Besides that, having two numbers would *still* need an extra sim card, then wouldn't the OS have to be extended in order to recognize another sim slot and disseminate between the two of them? I'd rather see google working on allowing me to have more than one gvoice number on my nexus rather than a sub-par(IMHO) manufacturer such as LG creating a "neat" proof of concept. I'm glad it might be possible, but isn't there a better use of time and energy?

Yo dawg (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473278)

Yo dawg, we heard you like phone operating systems, so we put a phone operating system in your phone operating system so you can call people while you call people.

do77 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473286)

members are 'superior' machine. www.anti-slash.org has signifi3antly its corpse turned TRYING TO DISSECT NIIGER ASSOCIATION Numbers continue 1. Therefore there OS I do, because

PSP phone (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473326)

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the sort of tech Sony will use on their phone to keep the gaming portion separate from the android portion.

Phone virtualization is an AWESOME idea (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473530)

I wish I thought of it first!

Fact is, one of the nicer things about virtualization is the removal of dependency on hardware. The OS, Applications and data can all be packaged neatly in one or a few files that are transportable to other hosts. These can be backed up and recovered. Lose your phone? No problem! Get another one and restore your phone image to it! That virtualization might enable the existence of more than one phone running concurrently is nice and interesting, but having even one phone virtualized is awesome.

Re:Phone virtualization is an AWESOME idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477156)

Erm, do backups not normally work with Android phones? What you describe is trivial on PalmOS v3/v4 (I haven't used PalmOS recently).

Re:Phone virtualization is an AWESOME idea (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478580)

No, I mean backing up the phone... the whole phone. Being able to run it on another maker's phone hardware or even on an emulator on your PC. The problem with phones today is that they are all pretty much proprietary stuff... each one different... even (and especially?) Android phones. But if there were a virtual machine host for the phone, the user's own image could be loaded onto whatever kind of phone (that accepts it).

Yeah, I know, carriers wouldn't allow this. They want to lock down and control everything. I am just waiting for the day that regulators begin to realize that there is little fundamental difference between landline (POTS) service and wireless. The technology is different, but the needs are the same. It was decided that carriers couldn't tell home users what kind of phones they could or couldn't use, but somehow wireless carriers can? Bullcrap!

Two userids (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473612)

This sounds like overkill. How about two userids. The employer has the password the user "work" only.

Re:Two userids (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476252)

Good idea, if you work with technical, competent, managers in a technical industry.

Outside the tech industry, virtualization is not well-understood. Many managers simply focus on seizing the tangible to obtain control and work from a position of strength and authority.

Unfortunately, our company was the technology subcontractor to a prime company that got into a dispute with its employees in at *our* location. They sent their security goons to *our* office to take all the smart phones and laptops on or around *their* employees. They didn't actually know which computers and phones belonged to them...so they just grabbed everything remotely connected to their people. I told them it was uncoordinated, that we were a separate and private business, so shoving past me to get at their people meant they were criminally trespassing. I shouted (so that witnesses would definitely remember) that without a list of property that was actually theirs and without my permission to be there and take property from my location, that each individual goon was personally engaging in criminal robbery. Thankfully, that company no longer exists...they lost a huge lawsuit.

That said, lawsuits are expensive to run and most individuals don't have the financial assets to take on a large private employer that shuts off their air supply.

Why Virtualize? (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473618)

Why do they need to virtualize it? Linux has better methods of "virtualizing" with a lot less overhead. OpenVZ and LXC being two.

From the way it sounds, it runs like a desktop hypervisor - so it's a hardware layer virtualization.

OpenVZ and LXC run like Solaris Containers and FreeBSD Jails.. OS level virtualization. They're still isolated, but they share the same kernel, so a second kernel doesn't need to run - saving resources and CPU time.

Why does VMWare need to make it more complicated than it really needs to be?

Re:Why Virtualize? (1)

hawaiian717 (559933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34479068)

Because VMware is looking beyond the Android on Android use case.

For the guest operating system, VMware and LG gave the example of a second instance of Android running on top of the host Android OS. It remains to be seen whether technical reasons or licensing concerns could prevent IT shops from installing other mobile operating systems as guests on top of the virtualized Android devices.

On this issue, VMware says: "VMware's strategy with mobile phones will be very similar to our approach in the PC space. Users have the ability to run any supported guest operating system as long as it complies with predetermined licensing guidelines."

In other words, you might one day be able to run your corporate Blackberry image in a VM on your Android phone. Using something like OpenVZ only works if host and guest are running the same OS.

I just thought of a use case that would appeal to the geeky, non corporate user type. Run a stock version of the latest Android release as a guest, while the host is limited to whatever three-versions-behind version of Android with a bunch of useless pre-installed apps that the carrier foists upon you.

No thanks (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473632)

Call me strange but I don't want a feature that facilitates my employer putting their crap on _my_ phone.

A potential use for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474354)

would be to create a netbook sized device that contains no motherboard, but instead operates as an external screen, keyboard, storage device, and battery when plugged into an android phone. Then you could boot up a full Linux OS with a larger screen and keyboard, recharge your phone, and have external storage. And since the external device would have no motherboard there would be plenty of room for disks and batteries in a nice thin case...it should run for quite some time too :)

something is missing (1)

rrey (1886420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474880)

"...The devices would also have two phone numbers." If we talk about GSM, devices have no phone number, SIM card is identified on netwok and associated with a phone number. Unless the SIM card is dual IMSI, there is only one phone number. As far as I know, a SIM is using only 1 IMSI at the time, something is missing or you'll still have to power off a VM and start the other one...

I'll believe it when I see it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476992)

VMWare has demonstrated virtualization software for mobile OSes before, but it turned out to be vaporware, maybe things will be different this time...

Maslow, 1966 (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478128)

"It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

The rest of the quote (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34479070)

The devices would also have two phone numbers.

...As well as six or seven spare batteries.

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