In some very big news coming on the sidelines of Intel’s AppUp Elements Conference, the LiMo Foundation and the Linux Foundation today announced a new open source project, Tizen, to develop a Linux-based device software platform. Tizen will be a standards-based, cross-architecture software platform which supports multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
We had been hearing rumors about how Intel was going to pause MeeGo development after Nokia backed out, and today we’ve received official confirmation, its all about Tizen from now.
Meanwhile, a post has also gone up on the official MeeGo blog taking about Tizen and ‘What’s Next For MeeGo?’. The question on everyone’s mind is why Tizen? Also, why didn’t they just incorporate all the new capabilities into MeeGo? The answer on the official post to that is:
We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. 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.
Granted, this is a judgment on our part on which reasonable people could disagree, but that’s the conclusion I came to.
My guess is that if Intel needed a big manufacturer to step into Nokia’s place, they needed to get rid of the MeeGo brand. No one would start developing for a platform which Nokia thought was not worth it, nevermind the underlying technologies, the name had to go. There was a lot of chatter about Samsung stepping up, and it seems a the companies got together, decided to work together and better MeeGo with deeper HTML5 support amongst other things and call it Tizen.
Infact, a few very interesting words can be found on the Intel AppUp Developer blog post commenting on Tizen:
For those speculating on rumors per Intel & Samsung, I trust this news is more encouraging than what was bounced around in the blogosphere. This is not a two company story. With the Tizen platform, the Linux Foundation and LiMo unite, driving more choice and open innovation.
Tizen’s development will be led by Intel and Samsung and an initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012. The first devices running Tizen are expected to come to market in mid-2012.
With Tizen, the aim is to use HTML5’s capabilities and cross platform flexibility and the Tizen SDK and API will allow developers to use HTML5 and related web technologies to write applications that run across multiple device segments, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, in-vehicle infotainment, and netbooks. Intel’s AppUp center will be expanded to support Tizen with Intel AppUp as a store front for multiple Tizen device implementations.
So is MeeGo well and truly dead? The answer to that again comes from Intel’s App Developer blog:
MeeGo continues for our devices in market. MeeGo is a great choice for emerging markets and we’ve seen amazing devices already like the ASUS EeePC x101. AppUp continues to support MeeGo and we encourage MeeGo developers to continue to build and submit apps for our netbook devices in market. We also encourage MeeGo developers to consider a common development framework of HTML5 to bridge development between MeeGo and Tizen devices. And on the netbook side the MeeGo neetbook apps in the Intel AppUp center will be compatible and will run unchanged with Tizen netbook. So for those developers who invested in MeeGo for netbooks your apps will continue on Tizen netbooks.
Since MeeGo is open source, it will never truly be ‘dead’ in technical terms, but will it ever go mainstream? No. For that there’s Tizen. Therefore the MeeGo blog states:
Over the next couple of months, we will be working very hard to make sure that users of MeeGo can easily transition to Tizen, and I will be working even harder to make sure that developers of MeeGo can also transition to Tizen.
So there you go, here’s another open source operating system that sees Intel partner with a large smartphone manufacturer. The Nokia partnership was a bust, but Intel is looking to learn from those lessons and come back hard with Samsung as a partner this time.