The push towards remote working is a key consideration impacting the way desktop virtualisation is used today, as well as in the long-term. Being able to send a virtual footprint to a mobile phone was one potential area of opportunity for VMware to extend its client virtualisation offering, regional partner director, Manish Sharma, said.
To help tackle this, the company purchased mobile phone virtualisation vendor, Trango, last year.
But integrators participating in the roundtable expressed mixed views on whether mobile phones would ever satisfy the corporate customer’s need for desktop functionality while on the go.
“I can’t see the mobile [virtualisation] piece being of any value other than for running different mobiles on the same phone,” Dimension Data’s Ronnie Altit said.
He pointed out Windows Mobile had been available for several years as a functional way to access word or spreadsheet documents from a phone device, but argued most users just wanted phones to stay in touch.
For Thomas Duryea’s Peter Levett, functionality was the key to getting users to interact more successfully with mobile phones.
“I use my BlackBerry and if I receive an email with an attachment, I’m not going to open it. It’s not that I don’t want to read the attachment, it’s that I know it’s going to be a nightmare,” he said. “If the technology is there and people need to use it, they will out of necessity. More and more people are running around and getting more done because the right technology is in front of them.”
VMware’s David Blackman said there was a divide between generations – those who were used to phones for straight communication, and younger users who will want to do everything on their phones.
“My personal belief is that apps that run on mobile phones, belong on mobile phones, and apps for PCs belong on PCs,” VMware’s David Wakeman said. “What I do like about the idea is that if I write an application for Symbian, if I don’t have a Symbian phone, I can’t consume it. But the guys developing Google Android or Windows Mobile, they’re the guys who can’t live without it. To move those between different mobile phones is very powerful.”
The benefit was standardisation across different mobile devices as well as user data, Wakeman said.
“If you are now virtualising each layer, you may not have to bring the whole application to the phone,” he said. “It might just be virtualising the data so it can be delivered to the device I choose. That’s a big opportunity for the industry to consolidate the cost of developing mobile apps.”