Today VMware announced relationships with Verizon Wireless and Telefónica to deliver devices incorporating Horizon Mobile. Corporations will be able to separate their environments from users’ personal environments on Android phones, but with limited handset offerings, this isn’t quite a BYO (or BYOiPhone) situation yet.
Horizon Mobile combines developments in VMware’s mobile hypervisor, called Mobile Virtualization Platform, and Horizon App Manager. As announced at VMworld in August, Horizon Mobile will allow IT administrators to provision (and de-provision) a completely separate workspace on a mobile device.
Telefónica (for those of us in the US, Telefónica is a Spain-based telecom provider; they’re the third largest in the world with extensive reach in Europe and Latin America) announced a dual subscription feature: a second voice and data plan can be associated with a user’s handset. They’re only announcing one device right now, the Samsung Galaxy SII. In addition, Telefónica is offering cloud-based management for Horizon mobile, indicating quite an active role on their part.
Verizon’s announcement didn’t mention any specific devices, only that phones made by LG would be “tested and ready for use with VMware Horizon Mobile on the Verizon Wireless Network.”
There are no details yet on how the dual corporate and personal service plans will work, but with Google Voice already established, most users will be familiar with the idea of managing two phone numbers on one device. Horizon Mobile will now allow the second phone number to be brought under corporate control.
Based on what VMware was saying in August, I was expecting this to be a BYO utopia. Even with just a few limited devices, though, there are still potential benefits for each side (and for the manufacturers too, who will get to market expensive handsets to corporations). Users only have to carry around one device and can do anything they want with the personal side; corporations can have a secure, clean environment without worrying about users messing it up.
This leaves me wondering, though, why can’t the separate environment just be within an Android application? Can we assume that it’s just too complicated, or is there something else I’m missing?