Using a work phone and a personal phone at the same time sucks. That's the motivator behind the Bring Your Own Device ("BYOD") trend, wherein employees use their own smartphones for work-related tasks. Most people do this anyway, but it can become a real problem if you're working with sensitive data. That's where VMware comes in. This company specializes in virtualized PCs for remote access and security, and after years of development, it's expanding into mobile with Android. Too bad it's only available on Verizon at the moment - and only on two mid-range phones at that.


VMware's Horizon Mobile solution works like this: your company sets up a default mobile workspace, complete with apps, security measures, and even a wallpaper if they want. These environments are created and assigned to mobile users. The users can then switch between two Android instances on their phone: work and personal. Apps, data, and even the connection itself can be managed separately, with extra security features thrown in on the business end via policies, encryption, and VPN access. Think of it as an ultra-secure version of the multi-user implementation in Android 4.2. It's a way for enterprises to let their employees bring their own phone (or assign them a single device) without worrying about someone leaving an easy attack vector lying on a bar in the terminal lobby.

Here's an incredibly boring demonstration. IT managers, disengage your corporate firewall and hit play.

Good news, right? Well, yes and no. First of all, the software needs to be set up and maintained at the company in question. That's no different from other virtual machine and VPN solutions, but it's not as simple as installing an app on a phone. Second, VMware's services are only being offered by Verizon, and even then, only on the Motorola DROID RAZR M and LG Intuition (AKA the Optimus Vu) phones. Both devices have their fans (yours truly owns and loves a RAZR M) but they're getting long in the tooth, and they weren't exactly top of the line when they launched. VMware says that it will certify more devices soon under the "VMware Ready" program.

Lastly, VMware Mobile Horizon will cost a whopping $125 per user. That's just for the software - it doesn't include the phones, service, or setup. That's a huge investment even for a medium-sized company, and the perpetual licensing (pay once, use it forever) only slightly mitigates the high price. For that much dough, I've got to think that most companies will stick to a two-device solution, or just live with the insecurity.

VMware Company Blog - Introducing VMware Ready Devices on Verizon Wireless

BASKING RIDGE, NJ and PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - May 15, 2013) - Verizon Enterprise Solutions and VMware today announced the immediate availability of a dual persona solution for Verizon enterprise customers. Now available on Android-based LG Intuition™ and RAZR M by Motorola smartphones, VMware Horizon® Mobile™ offers strong security and simplified management of corporate information residing on VMware Ready™ mobile devices. Additional device support is expected throughout the year.

VMware Horizon Mobile applies VMware's proven virtualization technology to create a virtualized operating system on Android smartphones. These Android devices run a corporate workspace that is controlled and managed by IT, and is completely separate from the employee's personal information, applications and data on the device. The workspace contains its own operating system, applications and policies, enabling IT to remotely manage the entire lifecycle of the workspace. IT is able to provision the workspace, deploy applications and monitor the flow of information to and from the workspace for security.

Delivering Enterprise Services Through a Mobile Virtual Workspace
Horizon Mobile provides many features to enhance productivity by creating a purpose-built and preconfigured mobile virtual workspace that is tied to the user, not the device. Key benefits include:

  • Single workspace for applications and data -- Users can increase productivity by easily accessing dispersed applications and data through a corporate workspace on their VMware Ready Android devices. Given the standard nature of virtualized operating systems, the workspace can be distributed to a wide range of Android devices without customization, simplifying Android management for IT.
  • Separation of personal and corporate data -- Creation of a separate container for corporate assets helps prevent data leakage and preserve the privacy of personal information on the same device. IT manages only what it needs to manage, bringing enhanced security and compliance to personally owned devices.
  • Enterprise-grade security for Android -- Security is enforced by isolating personal and corporate assets from one another and encrypting all corporate assets residing on the device. Horizon Mobile leverages existing enterprise infrastructure including virtual private network (VPN), authentication solutions and full integration with standard enterprise directory services so enterprises can extend their current trusted and compliant security services to smartphones.

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