Intel and Samsung are joining forces, backing the development of a new operating system for smartphones and other devices. The new platform, Tizen, is Linux-based and being developed by both the LiMo Foundation and the Linux Foundation.
According to the two foundations, the Tizen platform is an open-source, standards-based software platform that supports multiple devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle ‘infotainment’ systems.
Intel (the world’s largest semiconductor firm), which already has its own Linux-based MeeGo platform (developed by The Linux Foundation), and Samsung Electronics, the top Android phone manufacturer and second biggest maker of cell phones, will head the technical steering committee. Samsung had already been a key contributor to LiMo. From the sound of it, Intel’s afformentioned MeeGo is actually being dropped and “rolled” into Tizen, with MeeGo users and developers being promised that they should have a relatively easy time shifting across to Tizen.
“Tizen aims to unify a number of marginalized Linux based platforms,” said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at London-based telecoms industry consultancy CCS Insight.
“There is a willingness to create an independent alternative to Android but history tells us that willingness doesn’t necessarily equate to success,” he added.
The initial release is planned for the first quarter of 2012, enabling the first devices using Tizen to come to market in mid-2012, LiMo and Linux Foundation said.
More after the break…
There had already been chatter of Samsung and HTC, another major player in Android, developing their own mobile OS in the wake of Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility. It appears that despite giving the Motorola deal their vote of confidence, there is some concern over the future of the Android platform.
“Samsung might be further tempted to try a new system as Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility raised uncertainty over the future of Android,” said Song Jong-ho, an analyst at Daewoo Securities.
The initial reaction of some industry analysts is that the Tizen platform is likely to struggle to attract wider developer and manufacturer support to compete with the dozen or so other mobile operating systems - especially the likes of Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platforms.
“The best hope for them is that big operators get worried by Android’s increasing smartphone dominance and decide to consciously switch their allegiances to rival platforms to restrict Google’s huge influence over the mobile market,” said analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.
Intel and Samsung are the major supporters of this new project, but other supporters include Fujitsu, Panasonic, NEC, Motorola, ARM and a host of others, though who exactly will be using Tizen and who will just be quietly observing from the sidelines remains to be seen.
Earlier this month Intel and Google launched a development partnership to adapt Android for Intel’s Atom processor chips, with a view to having the first Android phones featuring Intel chips in the first half of next year.
What are your thoughts? Should the other major smartphone platforms, especially Android, be concerned? If Tizen is a success, is there room for another major player in the mobile OS ecosystem? Let us know in the comments below!
Category: Mobile News
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