Chipmaker Intel announced it has joined the Linux Foundation and the LiMo Foundation in support of Tizen, a Linux-based, open-source software platform for multiple device categories, including mobile handsets, netbooks and tablets. The standards-based Tizen project will be hosted at the Linux Foundation and offer an operating system and a flexible standards-based HTML5 and Wholesale Applications Community Web development environment within which device-independent apps can be produced. The initial release of Tizen is expected in the first quarter of 2012, enabling the first devices in the market mid-2012.
"Tizen builds upon the strengths of both LiMo and MeeGo, and Intel will be working with our MeeGo partners to help them transition to Tizen," Intel said in a press statement. The Linux Foundation said the approach is designed to leverage the robustness and flexibility of HTML5, which is emerging as a more common application environment for mobile applications and has the carrier support of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC).
However, as Intel and Tizen partner Samsung Electronics work to provide an alternative operating system to giants such as Google Android or Apple's iOS, the partnership faces an uphill battle but may depend on Google's success for survival. Analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics told Fox Business the best hope for Intel and Tizen backers is that big operators get worried by Android and decide to consciously switch their allegiances to rival platforms to "restrict Google's huge influence over the mobile market."
Tizen additionally carries a reference user interface, which is used to enable the creation of an innovative user experience that can be further customized by operators and manufacturers. "The Linux Foundation is pleased to host the Tizen platform," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. "Open-source platforms such as Tizen are good for Linux as they further its adoption across device categories. We look forward to collaborating with the LiMo Foundation and its members on this project."
"The LiMo Foundation views Tizen as a well-timed step change which unites major mobile Linux proponents within a renewed ecosystem with an open Web vision of application development which will help device vendors to innovate through software and liberalize access to consumers for developers and service providers," said Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation. "LiMo will maintain its focus on providing the industry with a broadly backed vendor- and service-neutral ecosystem grounded in the spirit of open and unconstrained opportunity that is embodied by Linux."
Tizen APIs will cover various platform capabilities, such as messaging, multimedia, camera, network and social media. For those who use native code in their applications, the Tizen SDK will include a native development kit, and former community manager for MeeGo Dawn Foster wrote on the Tizen blog that the project will open the entire Tizen software stack, from the core OS up through the core applications and polished user interfaces. "We will post additional details about this project in the coming weeks, including the code, developer documentation and more," she wrote.