The mobile operating system Tizen has been around for two and a half years or more, but until now there hasn't been a smartphone for it to run on. News has recently leaked that Samsung is to unveil the first ever Tizen phone at next week's MWC in Barcelona.
Tizen is a mobile app OS with a heritage. It started out as the successor to MeeGo with Bada being incorporated more recently:
It is linux based, open source OS that runs web apps and is already at release 2.2.
In Appcelerator's latest survey around 11% of developers were "very interested in it". This made it less popular than either Forefox OS (24%) or Ubuntu (19%), but whereas both these OSs had declined in popularity since the previous survey Tizen had doubled its number of fans.
Being an OS without devices to run on something of a handicap but until now Tizen has had only one - the Samsung NX300 camera and even in this the OS is hidden behind a custom interface designed to mimic its previous UI.
Tizen's fate is all the more surprising given that Samsung is one of the driving forces behind the open source project, together with Intel. However, perhaps to ensure Tizen's openness Samsung maintains its distance from the OS.
If you visit the Samsung Developer site and search for Tizen you'll find links to past Tizen conferences dating from 2012 and a question asking "Why don't we have Tizen-related information here?". This hasn't received any "official" response although there is an answer:
TIZEN is not strictly Samsung. It feels they're among the biggest contributors, but still it's an international intercorporate effort, an open source project.
This post provides the link to Tizen Developers (developer.tizen.org)) which, together with the main Tizen site is hosted by the Linux Foundation.
The most active recent thread on Tizen Developers forum is a debate on the Future of Tizen and again there isn't any official reassurance.
One poster says:
"Hope" is MWC (Mobile World Congress) this month... to hear something good or any kind of news about future of Tizen.
but it seems that the news from Korea, leaked by moveplayer.net, that the Samsung ZEQ 9000 is the much awaited first Tizen phone doesn't seem to have reached the forum.
And until MWC we can't be entirely sure as Samsung has delayed its launch repeatedly. .
A prototype Tizen was unveiled at the May 2013 Tizen Developers Conference and was expected to be launched in the third quarter. However, in August Samsung delayed it in order to upgrade its features and it looked likely that it would make its appearance at the Samsung Developer Conference at the end of October - but at that event Tizen kept a very low profile.
Although the spec of the Samsung ZEQ 9000 isn't yet known Moveplayer speculates that it has 4.8" HD SAMOLED display (720p) and is powered by a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor.
Tizen has been getting itself into gear for launch in the hope of taking off and becoming a serious commercial proposition. In November the Tizen Association, a partner program, was launched with the aim of
"accelerating development and commercialisation of the Tizen operating system."
Its 36 inaugural members represented connected device manufacturers, operators, application developers and independent software vendors:
This month a futher 15 partners have been recruited, among them Baidu and ZTE:
Meanwhile Tizen has been keen to stock its app store. A $4 million dollar contest to persuade devs to write apps for the OS was launched in July and in November its deadline was extended to December, with devs being urged to update their apps to achieve Tizen 2.2 certification by the end of the submission period.
Although devs have been wondering about the prolonged silence regarding the outcome of the contest, a posting by johnathan on the Tizen Greek Community site states that the winners will be announced at MWC.
So is this month the beginning of an exciting new future for Tizen?