VMware, which consumers know mostly for their Fusion desktop virtualisation software, is moving into the mobile space, albeit surreptitiously. The company has announced VMware MVP, a thin layer of software that will interface between handsets' hardware and operating system, allowing for a standardised development platform across any handsets that include it. What does this mean for regular consumers? For now, not much. If the tech finds enough support for hardware vendors, though, the consequences could be major.
For developers, having this VMware abstraction layer is pretty attractive from the start. If the layer is installed in, say, Blackberry, HTC and Motorola smartphones, then the developer will only have to write the software to run on the virtual machine's universal simulated hardware, rather than each phone's different hardware. VMware is promoting this capability as sort of a Java VM on steroids, which — with wide enough deployment and high enough efficiency — could mean an end to platform-specific apps. But that's not the most exciting part.
VMware's European product director told ZDNet that MVP could "make it possible for various mobile operating systems, such as Symbian, varieties of Linux and Windows Mobile, to 'co-exist on the handset as well'." In other words, due to the low-level nature of the solution, a VMware MVP-equipped handset could not just run platform-agnostic programs, it could run entirely different OSes in parallel. Whether anybody will take the time to make that happen remains to be seen, but just the possibility that new hardware could support pretty much any mobile OS is pretty exciting. [ZDNet]