It’s been a while since VMware announced it is working on developing a virtual platform for mobile devices. At that time this platform was called “Mobile Virtualization Platform” or MVP. This mobile hypervisor technology became VMwares after the aquisition of Trango. During VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, MVP was rebranded to Horizon Mobile.
So, what is Horizon Mobile? Why would you want it?
More and more, employees want to use their own smart phones at work, in the corporate environment. They don’t want to carry around with their private phone and their corporate phone. “Bring Your Own” is getting popular more and more. I believe this is a good thing; let user work with a device they know, like and are used to. This is a challenge for IT; Personal documents/email, corporate documents/email, access to personal and corporate resources, all contacts are melting together on that personal device. Also, how to support all these different devices, secure the corporate resources and manage those devices? Corporate IT can’t really touch and control those devices.
With Horizon Mobile IT departments can push a encapsulated corporate environment onto a personal mobile phone. This environment is a Virtual machine, a vPhone. IT can provide corporate applications like email, readers etc inside this VM so users have all the resources to do their jobs. Also, setting and policies can be applied to that VM, like the use of a PIN or password, encryption, update frequency etc. Of course IT can only monitor, control and update this VM and not the personal phone of a user.
With Horizon Mobile it also is possible to have a personal phone number and a corporate phone number on 1 device. Of course you can have your personal number. it is your phone, your SIM card so people can call you. With Mobile, you also can have a corporate virtual SIM and phone number so your colleagues and customers can call you on that number. This way you completely separate personal and corporate.
One of the first partners VMware announced was LG. Later on, also Samsung was announced as a partner. With these partners, it should be very easy to deploy Horizon Mobile on their Android based mobile phones. Telefonica in Europe and Verizon Wireless in the US will be the first carries who will support Horizon Mobile.
Currently there is a beta running in the US. Stay tuned for more information about beta’s and availability in Europe.