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Tizen, a New Open Source Mobile OS Developed by Intel and Samsung

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Intel is dropping MeeGo and joining forces with Samsung to create Tizen, a new mobile OS based on HTML5 and emerging web technologies.

Dawn Foster, MeeGo Community Manager, has announced the creation of a new open source project called Tizen, intended to build a new operating system for smartphones, tablets, netbooks, handsets, smart TVs, and car infotainment systems. Tizen will be a Linux-based OS hosted by the Linux Mobile (LiMo) Foundation and governed by a Technical Steering Group led by Intel and Samsung.

It is not sure how much Tizen will borrow from MeeGo, but it seems that it will take a fresh look to mobile platform and development not very different than HP’s webOS. Imad Sousou, Director of Intel Open Source Technology Center, declared that Tizen will follow the path of HTML5 and emerging web technologies:

So it begs the question: why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.

The APIs mentioned will “cover various platform capabilities, such as messaging, multimedia, camera, network, and social media,” according to Foster. The whole development stack will be open, the OS, the tools, the interface.

Tizen will also rely on the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), an alliance comprising many mobile phone network operators and manufacturers with the purpose to help developers to more easily create applications for multiple devices and networks. Some of the WAC members are ATT, T-Mobile, NTT Docomo, Orange, Vodafone, while Erricson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Samsung are observers.

The MeeGo community will be transitioned to Tizen over the following months, and the first release of the new OS and its SDK, including a native development kit (NDK), is planned for Q1 of 2012.

The Tizen announcement comes on the heels of Nokia’s N9 launch, the first and only MeeGo smartphone. MeeGo was the result of a joint effort led by Intel and Nokia who put together Moblin and Maemo, a project announced at the Mobile World Congress in February 2010. Much has happened in the meantime. Nokia steered towards Microsoft, embracing the Windows Phone platform, and Google bought Motorola becoming the OS maker and a device manufacturer competing in the Android market. Today we see Intel dropping MeeGo and joining forces with Samsung, currently an important Android manufacturer, to create a new OS that will attempt to attract the open source community. It is not clear if this will do better than Android because Samsung will be both in Tizen’s steering committee and a device maker, very much like Google is now with Android. One thing is sure: mobile is a very dynamic space and there are huge interests in this market.

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Community comments

  • Meego was never a single platform

    by Adam Nemeth,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    As far as I know, it's public that Meego was never a single platform: basically it was just a brandname for two distinct platforms, moblin and maemo, after each of them failed to gain traction in their market.

    Also, have you ever seen the meego mobile source code?

    Also, if you look at some meego technologies, like QTScript, you may see that there were already some things in this direction.

    But the bottom line is still about Intel struggling to gain traction in the mobile market and trying to position itself something else than a chip manufacturer. Get out your popcorns.

  • A dead end

    by Paulo Pinto,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I fear this will lead again to a dead end.

    It is a pity that they have decided to kill MeeGo, which now just leaves Android as the only Linux based OS with real devices out there.

    I don't belive that this fad of coding desktop applications in HTML5/JavaScript will last more than 1-2 years.

    There are already some trends of people coming back to native languages after a few years of VM based languages.

  • Re: A dead end

    by Russell Leggett,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    With the details exposed about windows 8, it is becoming very clear that HTML5 will not be the only way to develop desktop and mobile, but it will definitely be the most ubiquitous. It is basically fulfilling the dream that Java set out to do all those years ago. For small time players like Tizen, trying to get developer traction would be tough if they had a unique stack. By sticking with web standards, the current darling of cross platform development, they are a lot more likely to get more ports of other apps that are trying to be cross platform.

  • Meego is over

    by gk lan,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    So fast! It is a pity!

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