Questions to Steve Subar, CEO Ok Labs (mobile virtualisation)

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Can you explain what mobile virtualisation is?

Mobile Virtualization is technology that enables handset suppliers, operators and end-users get the most out of existing and emerging mobile hardware. It decouples mobile OSes and applications from the hardware they run on, enabling more secure, robust and flexible applications and services on less expensive devices today and deployment on advanced hardware tomorrow. 

Why are you currently focused on the mobile industry for this?

Today's mobile phones boast computing capabilities once found in mainframe computers and workstations. Mobile CPU clocks run hundreds of MHz, and mobile 32 bit processors access gigabytes of memory. Additionally, mobile network connections stream data at broadband speeds, and mobile versions of enterprise platforms such as Linux and Windows run shrink-wrap applications.
So it should surprise no one that today's mobile phones can also host mobile virtualization platforms with a range of accompanying benefits. As it does on servers and desktop computers, mobile virtualization offers handset OEMs, mobile network operators (MNOs), and semiconductor suppliers enhanced security, portability, reliability, license IP isolation and hardware consolidation. 

Mobile phones are no longer stand-alone devices – increasingly, they play the role of enterprise application endpoints. This new, always-on, always-character provides new opportunities across the mobile ecosystem, but also challenges handset OEMs to bring feature-rich, enterprise mobile phones to market, quickly and cost-effectively.
OK Labs embraces these challenges and provides a rich set of products and solutions to OEMs, MNOs, and semiconductor suppliers

Please can you provide some examples of your clients and how mobile virtualisation is being used? 

Our clients include ST-Ericsson, with whom OK Labs has partnered as their mobile virtualization partner for joint projects featuring ST-Ericsson 3G multimedia chipsets and open OS platforms. ST-Ericsson will be the first mobile multimedia chipset manufacturer to bring mobile virtualization to ARM Cortex A9 multi-core technology. In enabling mobile virtualization together with OK Labs, ST-Ericsson will lead the market in supporting virtualization solutions for SMP-capable open mobile operating systems (OSes).
A continued relationship with Motorola recently led to the release of the World's First Virtualized Smartphone, the Motorola Evoke QA4. 

Accomplished for the first time in a commercially available phone, OKL4’s mobile virtualization solution enabled Linux and an RTOS to run side by side on a single ARM processor, offering decreased bill-of-materials (BOM) costs and separation of GPL and proprietary software code as required by companies’ IP policies. This was accomplished while meeting necessary performance requirements and reducing development effort through extensive reuse of existing software.
OK Labs also has a more than five-year relationship with Qualcomm, shipping on several chipsets, with continued development around SMP, SMT and Application OS Development. 

What are your current projects? 

We have recently released, in partnership with Citrix, the Nirvana Phone reference design, as well as the Mass-Market Smartphone strategy. As always, we have more exciting news on the way.