LONDON – Two Linux oriented non-profit groups, The LiMo Foundation and The Linux Foundation, have announced an open-source project called Tizen, intended to develop a mobile device software platform based on the Linux operating system.
In what appears to be an attempt to re-invent what search-engine giant Google has achieved with its Android platform, the groups said Tizen would be a standards-based, cross-architecture software platform that supports multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems. The initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012, enabling first devices to come to market in mid-2012.
Intel will drop its own MeeGo mobile OS initiative in favor of Tizen and reportedly Samsung, a heavy supporter of Android, will seek to reduce its dependency on Google by backing Tizen.
Tizen is set to combine the open-source offerings from LiMo and The Linux Foundation and add HTML5 and web development environment within which device-independent applications can be produced efficiently for cross-platform deployment.
The LiMo Foundation (www.limofoundation.org) was founded by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Orange, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone with the aim of increasing the adoption of Linux within the mobile industry. It includes ARM, Marvell, Renesas and Intel subsidiary Wind River as associate members.
The Linux Foundation (www.linuxfoundation.org) is much broader but has seven platinum members at the top of its organization: Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle and Qualcomm.
Morgan Gillis, executive director of The LiMo Foundation decribed Tizen as a "renewed ecosystem" for mobile Linux proponents. The Limo Foundation said that the mobile industry is embracing Linux and open source technologies, but the creation of Tizen appears to be an acknowledgement that the open-source Linux has failed to gain traction in competition against the open but Google-owned Android. The other successful approach towards mobile systems has been the proprietary one of Apple Inc.
The Tizen project promises to lower device realization cost, increase flexibility and improve time to market for system developers.
The Tizen project is being hosted by the The Linux Foundation but has its own website at www.tizen.org
The operating system of phones doesn't matter any more. It is about what runs on it. It is just like the PC market and why Windows and OS-X are dominant.
The OS is the easy part. Who's going to come up with the application store infrastructure?
There needs to be a large company with a big financial stake in the continuing development of this OS. This is like a side project for Intel as a way to boost chip sales--not quite the incentive that Apple, Microsoft and Google (through advertising revenue) have.
LiMo and MeeGo couldn't keep up before. What has changed?
At IDF, Otellini said (speaking of MeeGo) there is still an industry desitre for another open mobile Linux ecosystem. Given the patent battles and uncertainty around Google/Motorola, and the need for the LiMo folks to have a roadmap, this makes sense. Still building a new Linux Mobile platform in 2012 is starting from waaaaay behind.
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