Paging Dr. Frankenstein! (Hell, paging Dr. Horrible…)
Last week at VMWorld Europe in Cannes (which is in France, which is in…er…Europe), VMWare unveiled the firm‚Äôs mobile virutalization platform. What that means, in non-mad-scientist-technobabble, is a way for a device to run two OS's at once. Kinda like the Wintel emulators on your Mac. In this case, they're running both Windows CE and Android, side by side, on a Nokia N800 handset. (Granted, the N800 is not a smartphone so much as it is a handheld tablet device, but the principle is the same, and VMWare made it quite clear that the cell phone world is their target audience.)
As you can see from the video demo, neither OS seriously taxed the operating limits of the hardware. In fact, the MVP hypervisor itself is only a small (20KB) "bare metal" virtual machine which runs beneath the phone's OS(es).
So aside from the giggle factor, is there a practical reason to run multiple operating systems on one phone?
Yes, actually. Users could back up their data onto the virtual machine, then easily restore it to a new phone regardless of the target OS. Developing mobile applications will also be much easier, as coders can embed them on a virtual machine with a thin operating
system of its own, removing the need to ensure interoperability with
different systems. Finally, users could create a "dual phone" — with one number for corporate use, and another number for personal calls — rather than juggling separate handsets.
[Via ITPro UK]