Tizen Lures Developers with Cash Incentives

by Matt Klassen on July 16, 2013

While Samsung’s plans to release the first Tizen powered smartphone this quarter have stalled, the new upstart Linux-based operating system still continues to gain traction. But perhaps the buzz surrounding Tizen isn’t being generating by the exciting new possibilities that developers are seeing with the platform, perhaps the buzz is being generated by the one thing that always seems to get people interested…cold hard cash.

In an effort to shore up the one glaring weakness of the Tizen experiment, the paucity of dedicated mobile applications, the group behind the Linux-based OS announced this week that $4 million in prize money is available as incentive for developers to begin programming for the platform, alleviating the biggest initial concern for developers—recouping their investment—and hopefully kick-starting Tizen as a viable mobile OS alternative.

But is a wad of cash enough to rocket Tizen to the lofty heights of Android or iOS? Heck, is it even enough to bypass perpetual backbenchers like Microsoft or Blackberry? While Tizen certainly gives the mobile world a lot to be excited about, don’t forget that Palm’s webOS was considered the most innovative and intuitive platform of its time…and we all know how that turned out.

“Tizen is a brand new ecosystem, with a brand new store,” the Tizen announcement read. “Now is the time to get your apps into the store, and get a head start on the next big application ecosystem.”

While an app challenge with $4 million in rewards is certainly the way to go for Tizen–its lack of marketable apps the primary reason Samsung has delayed the release of the first Tizen smartphone—there’s no question that Tizen is still the David of this story, preparing to face the duel Goliaths of Android and iOS, and in the grand scheme of things, one has to wonder if $4 million is a big enough rock to fell the giants.

So will $4 million really be enough to kick-start Tizen? It’s tough to say, particularly given the fact that many companies have tried this before (notably Microsoft and Blackberry in recent years) with little to show for it. That said, Tizen is backed by technology heavyweights Samsung and Intel, so if there was a platform that might have a chance to succeed where almost no others have before it, my money would be on Tizen.

The real question is not if Tizen has enough to garner interest for developers, however, the real question is does Tizen have any staying power? Sure its great to talk about the next big operating system, a story made all the better by innovative and customizable up and comers like Tizen, but will we be talking about Tizen a year from now?

Further, there remains the question of how many operating systems the mobile ecosystem can support. While carriers have been looking for a third platform to market, Microsoft seems better equipped in the short term to fill that void, meaning Tizen may not have the market backing it needs to be a hit.

In the end, while $4 million in developer incentive certainly won’t earn Tizen a spot in the mobile market, it’s the kind of marketing strategy that has lots of potential upside, and very little discernable downside, meaning if it works, it may give developers and consumers alike enough reason to give Tizen a look, leading to bigger and better things for the upstart platform.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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October 11, 2013 at 5:44 am
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