Can 15 New Partners Help Tizen OS Be an Android Killer?
By Ken Hess / CIO Today. Updated February 13, 2014.
The Tizen Association announced that it has gained 15 new members for its partner program, which will help accelerate development and commercialization of Tizen's open source operating system. The new partners bring a variety of expertise to the project, including application developers, mobile game publishers, mobile software management vendors, and major telecommunications companies.
Tizen's Partner Program originally launched in November 2013 with 36 members. The 15 new members announced today are AccuWeather, Acrodea, Baidu, CloudStreet, Cyberlightning, DynAgility, Gamevil, Inside Secure, Ixonos, Nomovok, Piceasoft, Red Bend Software, SoftBank Mobile, Sprint, and ZTE.
Open Source Means More Opportunity
If you wonder why so many vendors are jumping onboard with Tizen, it's due to its "open" nature. Being open means that no single vendor controls the operating system. Android is also open source but Google owns it and controls it to an extent that many developers find uncomfortable. Google has asserted its apps and search into Android so much that the mobile space has begun to 'fork' the operating system, which some observers say weakens the Android ecosystem.
Forking refers to changing the original source code in such a way as to remove unwanted features and to include new ones. Amazon's Kindle, for example, runs a forked version of the Android operating system.
The list of vendors who support Tizen continues to grow because of issues with Android's ecosystem and Google's involvement. Tizen promises to be what Android couldn't be for developers: a true open, community-driven product.
Part of the Tizen vision is to focus on higher tier devices, rather than those at the bottom. That said, its directors and partners understand the need to extend the OS into cost-sensitive emerging markets as an alternative to existing smart device choices.
Tizen's Niche Is Smart Device Technology
Tizen aims to compete with iOS and Android for a share of the mobile device market and has been deemed "The Android Killer." It is a Linux-based, open source operating system that is similar to Android but fully supports HTML5. The vision is that the Tizen OS will be used on smartphones, tablet PCs, laptops, smart TVs, game consoles, in-vehicle devices, and cameras.
Although there are no currently available Tizen-based products, Samsung is taking a very close look at Tizen for its huge line of electronic devices and was one of the charter partner members of the project. Since its initial introduction at Mobile World Congress in 2013, Tizen's proponents and partners speculate that Samsung or other TV manufacturers could introduce Tizen-based TVs as early as 2014.
For now, Tizen isn't likely to be an official Android Killer, however, its backing by such strategic partners as Samsung, Fujitsu, Huawei, NEC Casio, Intel, Sharp, and Panasonic make it a plausible operating system for consumer and business devices alike.
If you're looking to get involved with the Tizen OS project, you can find out how to participate as a contributor or as a partner. The Official Tizen OS project site is www.tizen.org, with the Tizen OS source code available at source.tizen.org.