Work, play on a single phone: LG teams up with VMware to deploy Android handsets with virtualization

VMware has been chatting up seamless, sexy virtualization among multiple operating systems on a single smartphone for some time -- and it's finally getting the opportunity to deliver en masse thanks to a new partnership with LG. Targeted at the enterprise, Korea's number two phone maker -- which is going into 2011 with a big Android push -- will be integrating VMware's virtualization technology into some of its models next year, starting with Android but potentially moving to other platforms (Windows Phone 7 comes immediately to mind) if the market demands it.

You might think that being able to virtualize a second operating system on your phone doesn't have much consumer relevance, but VMware's got a point: with smartphones becoming more of an end-user phenomenon than ever before, it's getting tougher for IT departments to sell employees on giving up their personal phones in favor of a secure, managed, corporate-provided alternative. With the virtualized setup, the work phone lives as an app within the personal phone -- two phone numbers, two complete environments, and only the work environment can be controlled by the IT nerds. Long term, the concept would be that employees could use whatever phone their little hearts desire -- companies would merely need to dump their VMware setup on top and you've suddenly got your work phone integrated. Follow the break for the press release and a video demo of VMware's virtualization software (on a Nexus One, not an LG) in action.

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Partnership Targets New Methods for Businesses to Manage Employee-Owned Mobile Devices

SEOUL and PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 7, 2010 – LG Electronics (LG) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), today announced a partnership to help enterprises of all sizes improve security and control of sensitive corporate data while enabling more flexible access via employee-owned mobile devices.

Using end user computing technology from VMware, LG is aiming to increase its footprint in the enterprise sector while providing more options for both consumer and business customers. This new technology will enable users to adopt the mobile device of their choice, while allowing corporate IT departments to manage sensitive data on those devices with enterprise-level security and compliance.

Initial efforts include enabling LG smartphones to securely run a work account in isolation from a user's personal account on a single mobile device. With this feature, LG mobile users will be able to safely carry a single device for both personal and work use. Solutions using mobile virtualization technology from VMware are expected to be available on LG smartphones in 2011.

"The enterprise and SMB markets are key areas of focus for LG," said Ki S. Kim, Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions at LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "Our partnership with VMware is part of LG's global strategy to develop smart mobile devices for businesses. Enterprise IT organizations are looking for a way to embrace the growing trend of employee-owned mobile devices at work, while still maintaining control over their corporate data. VMware's industry leadership provides a platform for LG to extend its presence in enterprises and deliver compelling solutions that address the challenges raised by the convergence of IT and mobile communications."

Enterprises Embrace Employee Owned Mobile Devices
More than ever, organizations are dealing with two fundamental client-computing pain points – providing secure data access to an increasing number of mobile users, and managing the burgeoning diversity of data, applications and client devices within the enterprise. Establishing a new end user computing model to address these points is a fundamental component the VMware "IT as a Service" vision.

"As workforces become more mobile, our customers increasingly view today's new breed of mobile devices as mission critical tools for their business," said Dr. Stephen Herrod, CTO and senior vice president of R&D, VMware. "The reality is that today's employee-owned mobile devices are often more advanced than corporate offerings. As a result, the agile enterprise is looking to embrace new end user computing models that allow users to work on the devices they love. We are excited to work with LG to develop mobile solutions that address the end user desire for affinity and the enterprise desire for manageability, security and control."

"Smartphones are driving demand for an enhanced mobile experience as business- specific devices lose appeal and employees look to use their personal devices at work," said Stacy Crook, senior analyst for IDC's Mobile Enterprise research programs. "For the business market, the individual-liable, employee-owned model is here to stay. Savvy companies will embrace the trend and procure the necessary means to ensure that all devices with sensitive information are managed properly."

Humphrey Chen, executive director of New Technologies, Verizon Wireless added, "We're seeing interest from Verizon Wireless customers in the area of mobile personas, which allow a personal mobile phone to be leveraged in a professional setting in a secure way that is IT-approved. The kind of virtualization VMware offers helps to make this happen, and we're evaluating ways to help our customers achieve this.