News is coming in thick and fast about Samsung’s possible choice to use the Tizen operating system for its upcoming Galaxy Gear 2.0 smartwatch. The choice to drop the Android operating system comes as a surprise to many, but it appears Samsung want to start ending its dependence on the Google-owned open-source platform, and reap multiple economic and compatibility benefits from using Tizen.
But what exactly is Tizen OS? Tizen was introduced in January 2012 as a Linux-based operating system for devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and in-vehicle infotainment devices. It aims to create a consistent user experience across all types of devices, and the Tizen project is governed by a Technical Steering Group which is primarily made up of two tech firms, Samsung and Intel.
A Tizen Association was formed to guide Tizen’s role in the industry, and members include representatives from every major sector of the mobility industry and every region of the world. Current members include OEMs and operators, like Fujitsu, Huawi, Casio, Orange, Panasonic and Vodafone.
Why would Samsung use Tizen?
The Tizen OS itself is developed by Samsung engineers, and shares a lot of things in common with Android. However, unlike Android, which is run by Google, by using its own operating system, Samsung would get free reign over how it wants to use the operating system within the Samsung ecosystem. Every mobile that Samsung sells gives Google a little bit of revenue, and Google continues to haul that in every time a user spends money on Google Play.
Furthermore, by developing an OS originating in the Asian market, Samsung may do well in competing with Google a few years down the line in the Asian market itself, by offering an Android alternative on a majority of phones shipping in Asia.
What devices will it be on?
The first commercial release of a smartphone running Tizen OS will be the Samsung ZEQ 9000 smartphone, which will be unveiled at MWC 2014 in Barcelona.
Adding to that, it has been reported that the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2.0 will be running Tizen. The release will be also be announced at MWC.
If the rumours are true, we can expect to see a massively upgraded Galaxy Gear smartwatch that could be compatible with more devices than its predecessor, the original Galaxy Gear, which was only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, S4 Mini and SIII.
Why would YOU use Tizen?
As an Android competitor, Tizen will introduce a breath of fresh air for enthusiasts who are looking to broaden their open-source horizons. You can download, as per usual for open source platforms, a Software Developing Kit (SDK) for designing and customising the platform and making your own apps.
Furthermore, with the operating system planned to be used on devices outside of smartphones and tablets (like TVs, printers, fridges, and in-car systems) you may very well be seeing Tizen pop up in your everyday life in a few years time if everything goes right for Samsung.
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