As far as mobile and tablet operating systems go, we have a lot in our hands. There are our big guys, Android and iOS; Windows Phone has come recently and taken a small chunk off the market; and there are upcoming Ubuntu and Firefox OS. You have probably been hearing a lot about Tizen these days, haven’t you?
Tizen is a new mobile operating system that is coming to our world, founded by the Linux Foundation and promoted by the Tizen Association, which has among its members such biggies in the tech world as Intel, Samsung, Sprint, NTT Docomo, Vodafone, Panasonic, Huawei, Fujitsu, etc.
In this article, we will take a detailed analysis of Tizen OS.
What Is Tizen?
You are familiar with Android OS, Apple’s iOS, Windows Phone, etc., right? Tizen is an upcoming operating system that will power tablets and smartphones. But it doesn’t stop just there. It is expected to power much more than that, such as small netbooks (ultrabooks); IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) systems such as vehicle navigation, car computers, etc.; and smart TVs.
We haven’t got a lot of information about the operating system yet, but some developers do. In June, Tizen developer hardware became available to a select group of developers. We managed to get this video of the Tizen smartphone by Samsung, thanks to the Handheld Blog:
The device in the video is quite basic, and has a not-so-appealing interface. But you should know it’s a developer device, and it doesn’t represent the final user interface. By September last year, Tizen 2.0 software development kit (SDK) was made available to the developers.
As an operating system, Tizen will provide support for all features that you want based on their availability on hardware—LTE, NFC, etc.
The most important aspect of the OS is that it is a completely open source, open web operating system. This means, it will have support for apps developed for the HTML 5 ecosystem besides native apps.
Tizen Can Run Android Apps
We were looking through this PDF describing the Application Compatibility Layer (ACL) for Tizen from OpenMobile, an organization that provides application compatibility for various platforms. With ACL incorporation, Tizen will be able to run any Android app you get on Google Play. That PDF mentions about 400,000 apps. We found out the PDF was released in Sep, 2011. At that time, Android market had that many apps, while now it has above 600,000 apps, most of which should run on Tizen.
Not only that, the ACL promises the apps will be a hundred per cent compatible and will run as nimbly as they do on a regular Android phone. This is an amazing promise indeed, and it will take away the app ecosystem barrier we find today among smartphone and tablet operating systems.
Webkit & HTML 5 Support
Tizen has support for web browser platform, Webkit. It gives pretty good support for HTML 5. If you read our previous articles about HTML 5, you may probably know it is going to be the next web standard, and also pretty much important for upcoming smartphone apps; Firefox OS and Ubuntu will have full support for HTML 5.
Also, HTML 5 apps are not ‘mobile’ apps, but full-fledged web apps; this means HTML 5 has the capability to become the de-facto standard in mobile app development. In this scenario, Tizen’s amazing support for HTML 5 is a highly welcome thing.
When Is It Expected?
In January, Samsung confirmed that it will release Tizen-based devices to the market sometime this year. It was reported in BloombergBusinessweek. Here’s the statement:
We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions.
That is the most current information we could get about Tizen. However, due to the release of BlackBerry 10, announcement of Firefox OS, and Ubuntu, we have reason to believe the competition to get fierce this year in the mobile OS market.
Tizen version 2.0 has been officially announced in the Mobile World Congress Barcelona. The developer devices were manufactured by Samsung and Huawei. The mobile carrier that signed up to release the smartphones with Tizen is France Telecom-Orange. You can find more details at TechCrunch. Here is a pic that TC obtained of the device.
Tizen is backed by some of the biggest companies in the industry. Hardware and chip makers and some of the biggest mobile carriers back Tizen development. This is important. Tizen is the one mobile platform that gets such huge support and backing from big players.
Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 has been known to be one of the reasons behind Samsung’s enthusiasm to go out of Android.
If Google has its own hardware manufacturing division, why would it license Android to other OEMs as freely as it does now? Also, manufacturers like Samsung are keen to get unchained from this dependence on the search giant. These are probably the reasons behind the development of Tizen as a full-fledged mobile platform. We will have to wait for the OS to come to the market before we can say anything further.