Android has been a big winner for Samsung, which nonetheless plans to team Bada with Intel's Tizen, following the industry's move to HTML5.
Samsung sells more
Android-running smartphones than anyone, but the manufacturer has a handful of
operating systems in its arsenal, and at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, it
shared that it has new plans for Bada, its in-house OS that it introduced
in late 2009
"We have an effort that
will merge Bada and Tizen," Tae-Jin Kang, senior vice president of
Samsung's Content Planning Team, told
Elizabeth Woyke, who
writes that, once complete, Tizen will support applications written for Bada
and even be backward-compatible to already-published Bada applications. The
goal is that developers who know Bada will be instantly comfortable designing
The Linux Foundation
introduced Tizen in Sept. 2011, with hopes of the first Tizen-running devices-which
will eventually include smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and even
in-vehicle systems-emerging during the first quarter of 2012.
Adding to the Tizen-Bada
cocktail, Tizen has roots in MeeGo, the OS that Intel was pursuing with Nokia
before Nokia made the switch from Symbian to Windows Phone. As Imad Sousou
explained on the MeeGo blog
at the time of Tizen's
introduction, the OS is based on HTML5, which he believes is the future of
"Shifting to HTML5
doesn't just mean slapping a Web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed
at mobile, as MeeGo has been," Sousou wrote, explaining the decision to
move to Tizen instead of evolving MeeGo. "Emphasizing HTML5 means that
APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with
platform technology and can vary by market segment."
Some have opined that
Samsung may be interested in having the Tizen-Bada nest egg, should its
relationship with the patent-strained Google sour. However, Samsung's strategy
may be more about using the new OS duo as a way to upgrade feature phone users,
of which there are still plenty, to smartphones-much as it first suggested when
it introduced Bada, which means "ocean" in Korean, suggesting the vastness
of opportunity and potential it saw in the OS.
Research firm Strategy
has forecast HTML5-based phones-which it defines as handsets with
full or partial support for HTML5 technology in the browser, such as the Apple
iPhone 4S-to rise from 336 million units in 2011 to 1 billion units in 2013.
"HTML5 will be a
pivotal technology in the growth of a multi-screen, 4G LTE [Long-Term
Evolution] cloud that is emerging for mobile operators, device makers, car
manufacturers, component vendors and Web app developers," Strategy
Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a Dec. 7 statement.
"With its potential to transcend some of the barriers faced by native
apps, such as cross-platform usability, HTML5 is a market that no mobile
stakeholder can afford to ignore."
Indeed, Microsoft is now on-board,
and Adobe, in a major about-face last November, announced it was halting the
development of Flash mobile browsers, citing HTML5 as the best new solution for
creating and deploying mobile content. Despite the relative newness of the
December Evans Data survey
found 43 percent of developers in North America
already using HTML5, along with 39 percent of developers in the EMEA, or Europe,
Middle East and Africa, region and 58 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
Still, Strategy Analytics
warned that it would take years of development and standards-setting before
HTML5 "can fully mature to reach its potential as a unified,
multi-platform content-enabler." Perhaps, that's a journey that Tizen will
help to speed along.