Verizon And VMware Are Tackling A Mobile Device Problem Companies Have Struggled With For Years

Pat GelsingerVMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Lots of companies want to let their employees use personal devices for work purposes but aren’t yet doing so. There are a ton of security and privacy concerns with such a move, especially if an employee loses their device.

VMware and Verizon’s enterprise group say they’ve got a solution for this nightmare scenario.

On Wednesday, the companies said VMware’s Horizon Mobile software is now available on two of Verizon’s Android devices. This is significant, as it’s the first time VMware software is supported on a smartphone in the US. VMware has similar deals with Japan telco Softbank and Telefonica in Spain. 

Horizon Mobile uses virtualization technology to separate a smartphone into two parts, one for accessing corporate apps and data and the other for doing personal stuff like texting and taking photos. 

The corporate side is like a walled-off workspace which IT departments have complete control over. Admins can set policies for what users can and can’t do, remotely erase data, or even disable the device entirely if it’s lost. 

Having a corporate workspace on a smartphone is important to enterprises for a number of reasons. Many want to make sure employees can’t copy data from the work side and paste or email it into the personal side. They want to take advantage of the productivity gains to be had from letting employees use whatever device they want. 

Right now, Horizon Mobile is only available on Verizon’s LG Intuition and RAZR M by Motorola smartphones, but Verizon said Wednesday it expects to add it to more devices this year. Horizon Mobile costs $125 per user annually, and companies can buy it from VMware and Verizon reseller partners.

With Android devices now accounting for nearly three-quarters of the global smartphone market, according to Gartner’s latest figures, VMware’s Horizon Mobile could be a smart play. But despite its obvious usefulness, Horizon Mobile has been very slow to market.

VMware first started talking about it in 2008 under the clunky moniker “Mobile Virtualization Platform.” VMware has talked up Horizon Mobile at its VMworld conference the past few years, but this is the first time it’s actually rolling out the technology on a smartphone in the U.S. 

Meanwhile, some mobile vendors are taking matters into their own hands. Samsung’s Knox, a feature introduced earlier this year as part of its SAFE program (which stands for Samsung For Enterprises), does the same thing as Horizon Mobile for Samsung phones. 

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 version 10.1, unveiled this week at its BlackBerry Live developer conference, can prevent users from downloading personal content and uses encryption to lock down corporate data, CIO Journal’s Clint Boulton reported Tuesday.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.