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Latest News on webOS, Tizen, Bada and Firefox OS

by Abel Avram on Feb 25, 2013 |

LG buys webOS. Samsung kills Bada and strengthens Tizen. Firefox OS attracts more carriers and first devices seen at MWC 2013.

There have been lately some major news regarding several mobile platforms showing once again how dynamic this market is.

webOS

The first version was launched in 2009 as the successor of Palm OS, and its development was boosted after Palm being acquired by HP in 2010 for $1.2B. HP launched a webOS TouchPad in July 2011, and open sourced webOS later that year. They also open sourced it’s framework, Enyo, and its browser, Isis, hoping perhaps to gather momentum around their HTML5/JavaScript platform.

It seems that webOS was not successful for HP which has turned its attention to Google’s mobile OS, announcing an entry Android tablet called Slate 7. They also have Windows tablets, so it looks like they will simply join the ranks of other device manufacturers.

In the meantime, LG is buying webOS – perhaps some of the patents and whatever unreleased source code HP might have – with the intention to put it into HD TVs. According to CNET, LG is departing from Google TV because of “concerns over Google's desire to exercise some control over the look and feel of its television platform.” Having an OS of their own would provide them the freedom to take it anywhere they like.

In spite of all these changes, the team behind Enyo has released version 2.2 a few days ago adding support for creating Windows 8 and Blackberry 10 applications. The Enyo project is still sponsored by HP.

Tizen

Samsung still struggles with Tizen and pushes it forward. Their latest announcement is the intent to kill Bada, folding related development into Tizen. Bada is a custom OS delivered by Samsung with some of their smartphones, accounting for 1.3% of the total smartphone market in Q4/2012, down from 2.1% in Q4/2011, according to Gartner. Tizen is supposed to support current Bada applications in an attempt to boost the number of apps running on this mobile OS.

Tizen 2.0 Magnolia SDK and its source code were release a week ago with a new HTML5 framework, full screen and multi-windows support, Bluetooth and NFC support, and others.

Firefox OS

The latest in the game is Mozilla Firefox OS, a web platform based on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript that runs on Firefox’s layout engine, Gecko. Firefox OS promises to be a fully open web platform that anyone could take and modify, and, perhaps what’s most importantly, anyone could have a marketplace for corresponding applications. This has attracted 18 carriers which have announced their support for Mozilla’s OS during MWC 2013.

Gary Kovacs, Mozilla CEO, expects the first Firefox smartphones in 2014, but two such devices were already spotted at MWC: Alcatel OneTouch Fire and ZTE Open, two low-end phones that will probably sell in emergent markets. If such devices prove successful we are likely to see more carriers embracing Firefox OS which gives them a share in applications and ads revenue.

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