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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

DoCoMo Intel dual-OS handsets for enterprise use

This was announced a few months ago, but I've only just had a chance to read through the details. NTT DoCoMo and Intel are working on an architecture for dual-OS handsets for corporate users.

The full spec gives more details, suggesting that it could allow phones which use Symbian or Linux as the "Operator OS", with a separate and switchable domain for an "Enterprise OS" for Windows Mobile, using virtualisation technology in the hardware.

This could enable DoCoMo to provide corporates with phones that do a full range of enterprise apps including VoWLAN, for example with a WiFi access available solely to the enterprise OS and with the specific demand that the underlying platform "not impose any restrictions on its use".

It seems to me that DoCoMo has come up with a clever way of ensuring that:
  • Enterprises can do what they want with their handsets
  • DoCoMo retains control of the overall handset value chain & architecture
  • Consumers may not be able to buy fully-open phones even if businesses can

Now obviously there are going to be issues with the "switching" process, especially if the operator part of the phone can pre-empt the enterprise OS while it's in the middle of something important like a phone call. But I suspect that for many users, a hybrid "two personality" device should go a long way to creating an acceptable blend of IT/Internet openness and operator-optimisation on the same platform.

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