Desktop virtualisation specialist Citrix and Open Kernel Laboratories (OK Labs) have published a reference model for a smartphone that turns the handset into the user's virtualised company desktop, reducing the number of devices he or she has to carry.
Handset makers Motorola and Sony Ericsson have already announced plans to use OK Labs' virtualisation technology, OKL4, in their next-generation smartphones. OKL4 runs on Android, Linux, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones.
The so-called Nirvana Phone supports docking to full-sized displays, keyboards, mice and other PC peripherals, offering mobile workers a complete virtual desktop and allowing them to take their desktop anywhere without a full laptop.
The design builds on mobile-to-enterprise (M2E) virtualisation and tools such as mobile virtualisation, cloud computing and wireless connectivity (3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth). It also incorporates emerging capabilities in mobile chipsets and handsets such as high-resolution video and HD output.
According to the firms, the key advantages are that the Nirvana Phone improves users' mobility and flexibility, and helps companies lower the cost of mobilising their workforce.
Uses include travelling salesmen using their Nirvana Phone to connect to a projector to deliver a sales pitch. Another is for users to connect in hotels to use the TV in their hotel room to get a full desktop environment.
It gives employees greater latitude in their choice of devices as a Nirvana Phone can separate private and business activities securely, said Citrix and OK Labs.
The firms said Nirvana Phones allow firms to replace existing laptops or desktop systems.
A hospital could provide Nirvana hotspots where employees could connect their phone to access their desktop. Each hotspot needs only a monitor, mouse and keyboard.
"The Nirvana Phone takes smartphones to the next level by bringing M2E from paradigm to platform and ultimately to product," said Chris Fleck, vice-president of community and solution development at Citrix.
"As HD video and other capabilities come online in mobile chipsets, we are working together to give OEMs a clear path to building handsets that meet the needs of IT organisations and mobile workers, delivering virtual desktops and applications to virtualised mobile devices," he said.
OK Labs CEO Steve Subar said the partners expect Nirvana Phone products to reach the market within 12 to 18 months.
They plan an explanatory webinar on 9 February.