Video: VMWare runs Windows CE and Android on a phone at the same time

February 26, 2009

image_57It seems that if you wanted to, you could spend your whole life flying around the world to conferences reporting on the latest technology…in fact, I’m sure you could. Down in Cannes, VMWare’s VMworld Europe 2009 technology conference is finishing today, but not without some interesting announcements. At their conference, VMWare revealed Windows CE and Google’s Android running side by side on the same device. Although this is not strictly Android exclusive, it’s very cool and has many applications. There is a video after the jump at the bottom.

The technology that allows you to run Android and another OS of your choice is the “Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP)”, including a “hypervisor” only about 20KB large. Each VM occupies only about 40MB of storage and can run in parallel. According to VMWare, this technology is already being evaluated by handset manufacturers. The “hypervisor” runs on “bare metal” hardware and is “very thin and very thrifty”.

In the video, MVP is shown on a Nokia N800 tablet and there is an initial environment without the virtual machines running. Here, there are some very useful CPU meters that show which VM is using the CPU the most at any given time. Windows CE is loaded into a virtual machine and boots fairly quickly. The demonstrator plays a little solitaire to exhibit the phone working normally. Once the “work virtual machine” is loaded it is possible to then load a “personal virtual machine”, such as Android. While Android is loading it is possible to flick back to Windows CE to continue your solitaire game.

In both virtual machines you can use touch and the graphics performance is not compromised, as demonstrated by the virtual globe within Android. This creates a “good user experience” where you can also see both virtual machines running at the same time. The idea by VMWare is to use “policy driven models” where the user “decides what will happen”. A user can decide which virtual machine is the primary OS (e.g. work), and choose to get only get a prompt when receiving a call from the “personal” virtual machine.

This looks like it could have heaps of potential and we look forward to following its progress over the next few months. Incidentally, isn’t it ironic that she’s playing Solitaire on her “work virtual machine”!

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