Tizen Smartphones for Christmas?

What are you getting for Christmas?

Tizen PinwheelChances are it won’t be a Tizen mobile phone or tablet, not this year anyway. But what is Tizen and more importantly why should you care or be vaguely interested?
Tizen is an Open Source Operating System based on Linux and it is designed to run on a variety of devices from smartphones, through to TVs and in-vehicle systems. It is supported by two massive names in electronics and computing Samsung and Intel.
Samsung have enjoyed a big boom in mobile phones recently, thanks mainly to their use of the Google Android operating system on their Galaxy devices. Although the smart mobile world is often split into iOS (Apple iPhones and iPads) Android, BlackBerry and MS Windows this is an over simplistic view.
In reality Android is an operating system used by a large multitude of manufactures to power a significant number of devices ranging in price and quality. The Android operating system although technically Open Source (and like Tizen based on Linux) is closely tied to Google with the search giant controlling various aspects.
For companies like Samsung, it creates a challenge. Their most popular devices are Android driven but in the case of the Galaxy range often have features and implementations that make them stand out in the market. But they are still, to a certain extent reliant on Google.
So this where Tizen comes in. It is not the first time another Open Source Operating System for mobiles has started getting interest. However, it is the first time since Samsung gained such a dominant position in the smart device market (don’t forget they make TVs too and they can use Tizen) that their support of the Operating System has gained interest.
There are rumours of Tizen powered version of Samsung’s Galaxy phone and a tablet running the system (by another manufacturer) has been made available in Japan (currently only to developers).
In terms of apps Tizen is pushing a technology called HTML5 very strongly. HTML5 is a web-based technology and increasingly used to power websites and apps on all platforms. The focus on HTML5 for apps will give Tizen access to a ready-made developer community.
Because Tizen is Open Source, anyone will be able to install it on compatible hardware. If it gains traction, it could become the power house of the Internet Things (where everything from cars to household appliances to medical equipment will have some connection to the internet). Also, because the apps will be HTML5 then theoretically apps should be able to run on a variety of devices with little modification. Also, Tizen will be comparatively cheap to install on hardware with no licensing costs associated with systems such as MS Windows or ecosystem lock outs, such as Apple’s iOS.
There is a strong likelihood that Tizen will make its first commercial appearance running lower cost smartphones for the emerging economies. However, with an increasing reliance on smart devices in Western economies it may also be the case that cheaper devices will also become available replacing the last of the non-smartphones still being sold.
In terms of the business opportunities it is probably too early to take more than a passing interest in Tizen for anyone outside of the Digital sector. However, everyone should take note the smartphone market is still evolving and is very young and if Samsung starts making a significant move away from Google’s system then that would upset the balance between iOS and Android dramatically.
Also it is time to take more notice of HTML5. There has been a huge emphasis on mobile apps in recent years, creating an entirely new industry. However, it is a deeply fractured industry where those working in the app economy must have access to skill sets for different Operating System on different hardware platforms. This keeps development costs very high for any business wanting to use apps to deliver services across different platforms. As HTML5 matures and becomes used as a cross-platform app and web solution then development costs should decrease. That is not to say the complexity of design and development will just disappear (just think about the different screen sizes involved between TV, smartphone, tablet and PC for starters) but there will be more coherence in the technology being used for development and that will be good for business.
Will you ever get Tizen smartphone or tablet for Christmas? At the moment only time will tell. But businesses need to remember that the smartphone, tablet and Internet of Things revolution is in its infancy and the disruption and opportunities it brings still has a long way to go.

Stuart Smith Founder and Chief Shepherd 3 Sheep To find out more about how Digital could help your business, contact us or call 3 Sheep’s Chief Shepherd, Stuart Smith on 0161 408 6626. Or leave a voicemail now using the button on the right of your screen.


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