Tizen mobile OS 101: Understanding Tizen’s origins

Rating: Yet another mobile OS – this one backed by Samsung and Intel

Whilst Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS continue to dominate the mobile OS scene, there are still a number of alternatives vying for attention in the mobile sector. One of these is Tizen which – like Google’s Chrome and H-P’s webOS all use Webkit and a Linux kernel. By contrast, Mozilla’s Firefox (see here) has its own runtime environment in terms of Geko not Webkit. Where has Tizen sprung from? Well it’s really a joint effort by Intel and Samsung which spearhead the Technical Steering Group (TSG) which leads the Tizen Project. To give Tizen a bit of marketing clout there is also a Tizen Association which can be found here. UPDATED June 2014.

To make life more complex for us, it is the Linux Foundation which actually runs the Tizen Project, with a focus on platform development and delivery.

There is, of course, a major benefit to all of this. Unlike Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Tizen is a truly ‘Open Source’ platform.

To that end, Tizen is focused exclusively on HTML5 which enables developers to create web applications that are portable across all major mobile platforms.

Consequently, rather than being just a smartphone/tablet OS, Tizen can claim to be cross-architecture software platform which encompasses wearables,  tablets, TVs, netbooks and even automotive infotainment.

To track Tizen in terms of its origins, it is the horse which Intel is currently backing. The previous horse Intel backed was, of course, MeeGo.

MeeGo itself was born out of the merger between Nokia’s Maemo and Moblin (Mobile Linux) which had garnered support from Intel. (See here.)

Nokia actually produced a MeeGo handset – the N9 but decided to drop any further MeeGo development in favour of Windows Phone 8.

However a Finnish firm, Jolla, has taken over the mantle of MeeGo champion by basing another mobile OS – Sailfish, very heavily on MeeGo.

Interestingly, Jolla has just Tweeted that the “first Jolla device specs will be revealed in early 2013″ here.

Samsung, of course, has already shipped in the UK a handset which utilises its own mobile OS, bada, in the shape of the Wave for Vodafone.

It appears that bada will be subsumed into Tizen, however. Samsung announced in 2012 ( see here) that it intended to ship a Tizen based handset in February 2013.

That handset was eventually announced as the Samsung Z in June 2014. It is expected to become first available in Russia in Q3 2014 (see here).

Of course, whilst the Samsung Z will be the company’s first smartphone based on Tizen, its first products to use Tizen were wearables.

Announced at MWC 2014 (see here), the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo were smartwatches based on Tizen.

Currently (June 2014) you can actually buy a Gear smartwatch so they were therefore the first Tizen products Samsung shipped.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
This article was published in Apple, H-P, HTML5, Intel, Meego, Microsoft, Tizen, Vodafone, WP8, android, bada, google, iOS, nokia, webOS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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