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VMware launches someone else's mobile hypervisor

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VMWare has extended its virtualization mojo to mobile phones.

Today, the software abstracter told the world it's now offering handset makers something it likes to call the VMWare mobile virtualization platform. MVP, for short.

"By abstracting the applications and data from the hardware itself, we expect that virtualization will not only enable handset vendors to accelerate time to market but can also pave the way for innovative applications and services for phone users," according to a canned statement from VMware president and chief executive Paul Maritz. "We look forward to working closely with our partners to bring new mobile solutions to market faster."

Based on technology VMware acquired last month when it gobbled a French outfit known as Trango Virtual Processors, MVP is an embedded hypervisor that separates a phone's applications and data from its underlying hardware. According to the company, the platform will be "optimized to run efficiently on low-power-consuming and memory-constrained mobile phones."

VMWare spokesman Srinivas Krishnamurti said MVP will allow handset makers to deploy a single software stack - complete with operating system and applications - across a wide variety of hardware.

"The amount of time [phone makers] spend porting their drivers and other software to new phones is just enormous. They say that each time they ship a phone, it feels like the first time," Krishnamurti told us. "[MVP] will reduce deployment costs and get phones to market faster."

What's more, it allows a single phone to run multiple operating systems. You could, say, squeeze, Symbian and Google Android onto the same handset. "You could run two separate profiles, one for home and one for work, each isolated in its own virtual machine," Krishnamurti said. "I can essentially have two phones in one."

VMware's mobile hypervisor mission began about two years ago, when it asked a small team of internal developers to build a prototype. Six to nine months later, the prototype was complete, and the company soon convinced itself that a full-fledged product could survive in the real world.

Then they went out and bought a company who'd already built a full-fledged product. Trango was hawking its mobile hypervisor to handset makers even before it was gobbled by VMware.

The French outfit also does virtualization for other embedded devices. But at the moment, VMWare is concerned solely with phones. The Trango deal has already closed, but VMware kept things secret until this morning. ®

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