It's time to kick the tires on virtual mobile infrastructure. What should I do with it?

We've been talking about the virtual mobile infrastructure concept for a while now.

As you know we've been talking about the virtual mobile infrastructure concept for a while now. (If you're not familiar with VMI, it's like VDI except you connect to a hosted mobile OS like Android instead of a hosted desktop OS. Brian wrote a more detailed explanation a few weeks back.) Right now I'm starting to get my hands on some demos—so what should I actually do with it?

My first inclination is to try to treat it exactly like my normal work environment. I want to perform all the same work tasks I usually do on my phone with as many of the same apps as possible. For me that means:

  • Email and calendaring
  • Twitter
  • Collaboration (we're use Slack).
  • Taking and sharing photos
  • Browsing
  • Light note taking (either in Evernote or using Exchange to sync notes).
  • Reading documents (usually in Google Docs, occasionally with Dropbox).
  • Occasionally logging into the content management system to update posts.

The VMI products I'm going to try include:

  • Raytheon (I actually have it installed and running on my phone right now. You can hear more about them from the podcasts they sponsored.)
  • Hypori (We recorded a video with them a few weeks ago at Mobile World Congress.)
  • Remotium
  • Trend Micro
  • Nubo (You can try theirs out in a browser or in an app right now.)

For my personal testing, the main consideration will be the remote user experience and whether or not I can get all my work done. But with each of these products there are a lot of other questions that can be asked regarding:

  • Hosting platforms (x86 or Linux? What type of virtualization or containerization is used? What other optimizations are present?)
  • Remote protocol
  • Client device support
  • What type of Android is it? (This handy guide breaks down the 6 types of Android.)
  • Does it support Google services?
  • Does it support push notifications, so I get email alerts and calendar reminders even when the app is closed?
  • How do you get the apps in there? Can I pull them from Google play?
  • Can it publish individual apps, or just the entire Android environment?

More importantly, beyond the individual products there's an expansive and fascinating conversation to be had about potential VMI use cases. Besides the security and BYOD benefits that have always been associated with remote desktops mobile OSes, there are benefits for enterprise mobile app development (you only need to write one client app instead of 2 or more) and for mobile app management (no need for the compromises of OS-based MAM or app-based MAM). And then of course there's also the disadvantage of not working offline.

I'm putting together presentations for Citrix Synergy and BriForum London and BriForum Denver. (More information and BriForum registration here.)

I'm curious what questions you have about these individual products and about VMI in general? And what else should I try to do in my evaluation—any favorite tools or scenarios?

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"What should I do with it?"

Show somebody remoted Android on iPhone, tell them it's iOS9 BETA and blow their mind !!!


Perhaps you could try managing the Android VMs using some of the MDM clients?  Trying them over a range of network conditions would be cool too - say 2 bars of 4G as well as WiFi?