back to article Motorola invests in virtual mobiles

Motorola has invested in mobile virtualisation provider VirtualLogix, creating the possibility of a handset that can switch between different OSs almost as quickly as Motorola declares support for them. VirtualLogix has software that allows different environments to coexist on a mobile phone. In theory, this means the user could …

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Somethhing to do with Symbol

Motorola own Symbol.

Right now, Symbol kit mostly runs Windows Mobile and only the version the device shipped with (e.g. the MC35 is WM5). Corporate customers like supermarkets buy heaps of Symbol gear and might well want to get an OS choice, like running a new device on WM5, or some sort of Linux.

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Paris Hilton

It is supposed to be a Phone!

Won't they learn? Motorola lost their objectivity, to build phones that people want and look what happened. Did they learn from that? It seems not. I'm as gadgety as the next person but even I don't want a handset that switches OS at a whim, even mine! Yes, it is nice that my N95 or iPhone can do all of these wonderful things, I think its great. But these devices still perform their fundamental function very well indeed, and that is to make calls and exchange short messages, and do it very quickly and easily. I really and truly do not need them to be able to swap OS, and for what purpose anyway? I suspect that in that I am not at all alone.

Paris, because she doesn't know what she's doing either.

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IT Angle

It's a technology purchase.

I don't think moto are seriously going to allow the user to switch between OSes on the fly (the royalties would be crippling).

Virtualisation has been in use in mobiles for a long time. But it's trendy right now innt.

Many 3G solutions on the market are 2 chip - that is one chip for the RTOS(e.g nucleus) and one for the Applications OS (Symbian/Ms mobile/linux).

Now obviously 2 chips are more expensive than one, and so there is a BOM cost penalty. However the effort to port the signaling stack to 3 different OSes is really astronomical.

So one solution is to to virtualise the device. That is, presenting the ARM chip to two OSes, with a Hypervisor taking care of OS context switches and message passing.

This means you can :

- use the same RTOS (which has gone through type approval) with any application OS you fancy *on the same chip*

- have one team responsible for the whole 3G stack delivery to all phones in an organisation (no expensive ports)

- isolate and test the signaling stack as a black box. (No need to worry about mixing 3g and application threads)

- Create better seperation so that you can produce 3G/EDGE versions

- Increase security since the RTOS can have a different memory region and is closed to 3rd party applications

- Ease RT performance - you can verify RTOS deterministically since you are not tweaking priorities of *all* threads in your system each time you add a new feature.

Bear in mind that before Montavista released its Real time patches to the linux kernel, this technique was the only way of doing single chip handsets on linux.

One other good reason for virtualisation is compatibility. Having the freedom to deploy a completely new OS, but retain compatibility with old applications (simply by including the old OS ROM on storage). With mobiles shipping with a few GB of NAND, storage space is becoming less of an issue (a typical phone ROM is ~128MB)

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cool but pointless

Sounds great for something like the Trolltech phone but for your average user?

Besides it would be too complex to SIM lock so UK operators won't be interested unless manufacturers offer the customer a one time choice when they start the device for the first time so Windows or Linux for example, when they select the other OS is deleted from the phone (hmmmm sounds like the practice of a well known Redmond based outfit that are big in operating systems)

Though think said outfit might not be happy about the use of such a technology by its licensors

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