Tizen OS a Reality in 2014

by Matt Klassen on January 16, 2014

For the past several years we’ve continued to hear good things out of the Tizen camp about the affordability, usability, and unmatched configurability of this fledgling mobile operating system, but to date the platform has existed only as vapourware, all promise but no substance. All that could change in 2014, however, as the Tizen Association, a consortium of phone makers and app developers, has promised that Tizen powered smartphones will hit the market this year, likely sometime in spring.

As I’ve said before, Tizen developers are hoping to create a viable alternative mobile ecosystem, hoping to break the ironclad hold Android and iOS have over the mobile market. The promise of Tizen centres on its customizable makeup, allowing carriers to create affordable yet high end smartphones geared towards specific niche user bases.

But given the fact that Tizen is about to enter a cutthroat market wherein many have failed before, does this largely unknown entity really stand a chance of competing with the established incumbents, or will it go the way of many of its predecessors, a good idea that simply didn’t achieve its potential?

As TechNewsWorld writer Jack M. Germain explains, “The Tizen OS is driven by a grassroots movement within the industry to create an alternative, less expensive mobile market platform. Developers hope the Tizen ecosystem will give both vendors and consumers more flexibility than is offered by existing mobile ecosystems.” In a market dominated by Android and iOS, developers bristle at the notion of Apple and Google calling all the shots. If Tizen gains any sort of traction, don’t be surprised if developers adopt it in droves.

But that’s the problem; it will be exceptionally difficult for Tizen to gain any traction, for even as we stand on the cusp of the release of the first Tizen powered mobile devices, no one really knows what it is, what it can do, and why they should buy it, leaving developers wary about investing resources into supporting it.

Based on the defunct MeeGo platform, Tizen is a Linux-based open source OS, much like Android, but one that offers developers significantly more freedom for customization. As Abraham Elias, chief technology officer of Sencha, which is working with the Tizen Association on the use of HTML5 and Internet browser capabilities, explains, “This [customization] is a differentiator that the other mobile OSes do not provide. We see this as a market positioning that will work to the various segments’ advantage. This allows device makers to have flexibility in changing the design of the phone along with the customized internals. They can make the Tizen phone more personalized to the end user.”

As mentioned, vendors will be able to create smartphones geared towards specific market subsets, much the same way Samsung does with the various iterations of its Galaxy line-up. Carriers and vendors alike will be able to produce phones made for outdoor enthusiasts, or those with an artistic bent, or those looking for enterprise functionality, or what have you, without having to worry about those phones having to appeal to a broader audience in order to turn a profit.

In fact, while we’ve seen phones geared to specific communities or demographics in the past—notably phones for the LGBT community or phones geared towards senior citizens—such niche customization will increasingly become the norm.

Simply put, Tizen means choice, and that’s something we can all get excited about.

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

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