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9/28/2011
04:52 PM
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Intel, Samsung Back Linux Foundation's Tizen OS

Android and iOS dominate the mobile operating system market, but that hasn't discourage the creation of a new open source operating system for phones and consumer hardware.

The Linux Foundation on Wednesday announced Tizen, a new Linux-based open source operating system for mobile and consumer devices based on Web standards.

The project's principal backers, Intel and Samsung, have both tried their hands at operating systems before, specifically MeeGo and Bada. Neither effort has been particularly successful, at least compared to Android or iOS.

Samsung's involvement, taken in conjunction with its decision to enter into an Android-related cross-patent licensing deal with Microsoft, looks like a declaration of independence from Google, which appears destined to become more of a direct competitor to Samsung as a result of its planned purchase of Motorola Mobility.

[ For further information about Samsung's patent licensing deal, read Samsung, Microsoft Ink Patent Deal. ]

The Linux Foundation says that Tizen's application programming interfaces are based on HTML5 and other Web standards, which at least guarantees developers won't dismiss the effort outright. However, Palm and later HP tried to interest the world in a Web-based operating system, webOS, and don't have much to show for it.

Tizen may offer Intel, Samsung, and other hardware makers access to a mobile operating system without excessive fees or restrictions, but it's not clear why developers would want to create Tizen apps rather than Web apps or native apps.

Developers can already write mobile apps using Web technologies on a variety of development platforms, such as Appcelerator, PhoneGap, and Rhomobile, and then deploy them as native apps to multiple mobile operating systems.

Certainly, Tizen's HTML5-based APIs will be appreciated--Web developers can use their existing skills rather than learn a new programming language--but developers are likely want tools, services, and app stores that accelerate and complement the process of creating apps.

The Linux Foundation says that Tizen is intended not only for phones, tablets, and netbooks but also for in-vehicle systems and TVs. For consumer electronics makers and car makers, Tizen could end up being more affordable than paying for a Microsoft license to use Android, at least until the HTML5 patent lawsuits begin.

The Tizen SDK is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2012.

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