The entry of Tizen
During 2013, a venture was announced by Samsung which was supposed to be launched by the end of 2013. Though the venture never materialized, it laid the foundation for something even better called Tizen.
Tizen maybe a relatively unheard name in the world of smartphones. But even still, it is a name which is fast catching up. This smartphone operating system was initially launched in 2011 by Linux (and was later on backed by Samsung and Intel), when Linux Foundation and the LiMo Foundation merged their MeeGo and LiMo efforts. Powered by Samsung, Huawei, Fujitsu and Intel along with NTT, Vodafone and Orange, this fresh new operating system has already managed to tickle the fantasies of smartphone users way before it’s launch. According to a report from certain anonymous sources from the companies involved in the project, an announcement on the release date will be done before Mobile World Congress by February 2014 and headsets powered by it will be available by spring. But a confirmation given later on to AFP by NTT Docomo spokesman Jun Otori Clarified that this new venture is all set to be launched by the end of March 2014.
From all the reports and talks from Samsung insiders, it is quite clear that Samsung considers it as an alternative to Android operating system, so that it can shake off the authority which Google has over Samsung smartphones and thus become independent (At present Samsung smartphones run on a customized version of the Android operating system known as Touch Wiz). Being an open source operating system with multiple mobile platform compatibility gives Tizen an advantage over it’s competitors. To prove it’s compatibility with a wide range of devices, Intel demonstrated an infotainment system for cars at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This system which runs on Tizen operating system proved it’s prowess by accessing Google Maps, changing songs from the hard drive, providing real-time information coming from the vehicle etc among a wide number of other things. Even so, their current focus is on making the OS available for smartphone devices, tablets and in-vehicle infotainment systems, while a foray into other devices is part of their long term goals. Some of the noteworthy advantages which it has over other mobile operating systems are:
It supports all the basic touch gestures supported by others, along with few extra ones.
It runs based on the Linux kernel and WebKit runtime, which makes it easy for anybody to obtain the source code and modify the device’s software.
It comes with advanced features like 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, location-based services etc along with all the usual features. But in spite of such advanced features, drop down menus and app menus has the usual grayish, box like look.
Non gaming mobile apps, gaming mobile apps, mobile shopping apps etc developed for Tizen operating system can be utilized through other Oss as well.
Another advantage is that it is being planned to be launched for not just smartphone devices and tablets alone, but for a wide range of other mediums like smart TVs, Netbooks, IVI, printers and cameras as well; a feature which none of it’s competitors can claim.
It’s mobile apps (including shopping mobile apps and gaming mobile apps) are written using HTML5, while other popular mobile phone operating systems use Java and Objective-C which are quite inferior. HTML5 makes sure that a better Web browsing experience is enjoyed by the users.
Basic elements like home screen, notification panel and lock screen along with advanced features like an app drawer style display, multi-window view and floating browsers sets it a class apart. Multi-window view helps people to view one single smartphone app in split views. That means you could key in a mail while having a display of your inbox by the side, or you could listen to and control the volume and bass of a song, while the playlist stays floating by the side. Interesting, huh?
With speculations high in the air regarding the release date and it’s superiority over other OSs, smartphone users globally are waiting eagerly for the big day, when the global hegemony of the big players will be challenged and the throne will be claimed by this new entrant.
PS: Though you won’t be able to find it on any available phones yet, there have been rumors about a Samsung phone labeled GT-i8800 running on Tizen 2.1.
Tizen and mobile apps
Another interesting fact which we know about the project is that, Samsung and Intel has allocated $4 million towards mobile app creation for the OS (As part of a mobile app development challenge) in an effort to garner more developer support. An important aspect of the new mobile apps developed for Tizen is that they can be utilized through other smartphone operating systems as well. Now, that is a real threat to mobile app stores of Android and Windows, as well as iPhone mobile apps which does not have this advantage. The challenge is expected to lead into the development of a number of interesting and useful mobile shopping apps among other types of smartphone apps, due to the extreme popularity of M commerce these days. Some of the Android mobile apps and iPhone mobile apps which might have to go through tough times due to this development could be Groupon, SnapTell, GoodGuide etc.
Samsung and Intel seem to have gone a bit innovative with the whole mobile app development bit. The challenge rules seem to be rather interesting and the participants are allowed to present their creations till November 1. This will be followed by the judging process and the winner will be declared by December. The grand competition will see a whooping amount of $4.04 million spend upon 50 developers, across nine categories. The prizes offered are: $200,000 for the best gaming app, $120,000 for the best non gaming app and $50,000 each for the 10 best HTML5 apps. Even though Tizen’s mobile app page does not have anything to offer at the moment, the grand prizes offered as well as the prospect of being able to become a part of the one of the most popular smartphone operating systems of the future, is sure to bring forth great innovations (especially when it comes to mobile shopping apps) from highly talented mobile app developers from around the world.
The present hegemony of the market by Android, IOS and Windows
At the moment, major mobile phone operating systems like Android, Windows mobile and IOS hold 90% of the smartphone market within their grip. Their functional similarity makes the competition between these three major giants even more fierce, leaving other minor players with little option but to take a backseat.
Back in the days when the entire smartphone fad began, Apple’s OS had the entire market share. Later on Android and Windows mobile stepped in and things started taking an interesting turn. At first Android smartphone operating system had much difficulty in making it into the big league, mainly due to the large fan base IOS had during those days (Remember? It is Apple that laid the foundation stone for smartphone technology, due to which a large chunk of the market share remained within their grip). But later on, the market share was divided evenly between the big three: IOS, Windows mobile and Android (Thanks to the fact that when it was released in 2008, Android was the first open source operating system utilizing the latest technology and UI). Eventually the popularity of Android rose to such a level that it pushed back all of it’s competitors and became the most popular operating system for smartphones in the world (One of the main reasons for this sudden popularity was the wide range of trending mobile apps which featured on Google Play).
The future of the market
The entry of Tizen is sure to topple over things and push back the popularity of the big fishes. According to Intel senior technical marketing engineer Chris Norman, they are exploring possibilities to add “profiles” for versions of the OS to take the concept beyond the limits of smartphone devices and tablets. It’s foray into the market will also lead to a sudden surge in the field of mobile shopping app development with more and more interesting mobile shopping apps developed for the new operating system (And that obviously means an increase in the demand for talented mobile app developers). A number of other smaller ventures which are currently in various stages of development, like Canonical’s Ubuntu, Linux for smartphones, Firefox OS and the MeeGo derived Sailfish are also gearing up to snatch a good share of the market. Even so, any change in the current trend can be expected only if the new entrants manage to prove their superiority over the leading OSs, and retain their current level of customer loyalty.