VMware launches dual persona feature for Verizon smart phones

The feature is currently available on the LG Intuition and Motorola RAZR M smartphones

Through a deal with Verizon, VMware is going to offer the ability for employees to download a app that allows their companies to run a standardized corporate version of Android OS on their phones along side their personal version.

VMware today announced that its dual persona mobile device software is now available on some Android OS-based mobile devices sold by Verizon.

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Dual persona technology creates two OS instances, one for business use and the other for personal use.

VMware's dual persona application, called VMware Horizon Mobile, is available now for the LG Intuition and Motorola RAZR M smartphones. Workers who already own the phones can download the application from VMware's website.

VMware said additional device support is expected throughout the year.

"There's no special hardware requirement to run this. All you need is a single core processor and 1GB of RAM," said Srinivas Krishnamurti, senior director of Mobile Solutions for End-User Computing at VMware. "Our expectation is that by end of year there will be tens of millions of VMware ready devices."

VMware and Red Bend separately announced plans to offer dual persona smartphone technology last year. Red Bend offers the ability to host both a business and personal OS instance on hardware. VMware and other companies offer it through software.

Red Bend's Type 1 hypervisor runs on a new generation of mobile processors, such as the ARM Cortex-A15.

VMware uses a Type 2 hypervisor product that embeds on a smartphone and awaits activation by a corporate IT department.

A Horizon Mobile Manager server on the backend recognizes when an authorized users logs-in, and a pre-configured an Android OS instance (with all the work apps) is pushed to the smartphone. If an employee tries to transfer data or apps between the corporate instance and the private instance, the transfer is automatically blocked.

At the beginning of the year, BlackBerry announced its Balance software, which creates dual personas in the BlackBerry 10 OS that runs the Z10 smartphone.

In March, BlackBerry announced a dual persona technology called Secure Work Space for iOS and Android, which runs as an update to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10. A closed beta test recently began with enterprise and government customers; the software will be generally available by June 30, BlackBerry said. Pricing has not been announced.

Like other dual persona mobile applications, VMware's new Horizon Mobile creates a separate container for corporate content and helps prevent data leakage and preserve the privacy of any personal information on the same device. IT manages only what it needs to manage, bringing security and compliance to personally owned devices.

Security for Android devices is enforced by isolating personal and corporate assets and encrypting all corporate assets that reside on the device.

Horizon Mobile leverages existing enterprise infrastructure including virtual private network, authentication solutions and full integration with standard enterprise directory services so enterprises can extend their current trusted and compliant security services to smartphones.

VMware Horizon Mobile is available immediately with perpetual licensing starting at $125 per user. The server software can be purchased through local VMware and Verizon Wireless resellers.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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This story, "VMware launches dual persona feature for Verizon smart phones" was originally published by Computerworld.

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