We’re hearing from a reliable source that Citrix has acquired a little company we wrote about back in July called Virtual. The firm, manned by an impressive set of software hackers, claimed to be able to virtualize both Android and iOS completely enough to act as an environment for bug testing and hardware emulation.
Update: Citrix announced its acquisition of Virtual on Wednesday.
The buy makes sense for Citrix, which could use Virtual to emulate Android or iOS environments via its remote desktop. A company that could ‘cast’ iOS environments would also have a big leg up on the competition like VMware or LogMeIn.
The company’s founder, Chris Wade, was one of the first iPhone jailbreakers and built Virtual off of an open-source iOS device emulator he co-created called iEmu. We spoke to Wade back in July about Virtual’s capabilities:
The idea was to move away from emulation and go to full-blown virtualization,” Wade says. Virtual allows a user to purchase a license to run a certain amount of iOS or Android devices with as close to real hardware capabilities as possible. Wade claims that Virtual has managed to virtualize the ARM core and emulate peripherals that allow it to double as almost any Apple TV, iPad or iPhone.
Virtual could also act as a replacement for services that offer real, physical devices for rent like Appurify, the company that was just acquired by Google in its ongoing battle with Apple over who can offer the most complete set of developer tools.
Another feature of Virtual is that it can be used to run iOS devices on OS X. This would mirror the announcement Google made at I/O about allowing Android apps to run on Chromebooks — but for both iOS and Android.
Wade also hired Nicholas Allegra, an iPhone hacker known as Comex who produced one of the most popular jailbreaking utilities. As of the last time we spoke with Wade, Virtual had not taken any funding.
No word on the price of the buy yet, though it was a young company and hadn’t yet launched a product, so that probably factored in.
We’ve asked Citrix about the acquisition and it declined to comment. Wade also declined to comment on the sale of the company.
This is an interesting get for Citrix, and one that appears to indicate the claims of the company are solid. While I was shown Virtual’s technology in July, I noted that the demo was impressive enough, but that it was hard for me to vet the performance claims without a launched product. Whatever they’d come up with it seems it was solid enough for a leading virtualization firm to want it. It will be interesting to see what they cook up.