The Tizen App Store was officially announced today at the Tizen Developer Conference, and it will be the goto place for all your application needs. The store isn’t accessible to the general public yet, but is open for developers to submit their apps (seller.tizenstore.com). Registration and publishing apps is free, and the promise to developers is that their apps will be validated within 3 days of being submitted for approval.
The Tizen Store is pretty much everything you expect from a modern App Store, however it does have a couple of novel features. One of them is the ‘Discounted’ section. So if any app is on sale, it will automatically show up there. The performance seemed smooth, and the UI kind of reminds of the Nokia Store on the N9, and parts of Google Play.
Going into the Tizen Developer Conference there were a few major questions that people wanted answers to. The developers wanted to know details about the Tizen App Store, everyone wanted to know when we’d see the first Tizen devices, which would be the carriers supporting them, and what about the big games apps?
The keynote did manage to answer a few of those questions, albeit in not complete detail. Tizen devices are coming this year, but Jong-Deok Choi, EVP, Samsung won’t be more specific. In terms of operator support, Roy Sugimura from NTT DOCOMO has stated that they will be carrying the first Tizen device in the second half of this year. Frederic Dufal, Devices Technical Director for Orange has also announced that they are committed to launching a Tizen project this year (end of summer, Europe only).
The big change from Tizen 1.0 to the current 2.1 release is the ability to run native apps. Samsung has folded Bada into the platform, although this was not specifically mentioned in the keynote.
The Tizen Store has been announced, and is open for app developers to submit their apps. Users cannot access it yet.
Tizen 2 also has an inbuilt security layer, McAfee has contributed to this.
A Tizen App Challenge has been announced. Submissions will be accepted June 1 onwards, and a total of 4$ Million is up for grabs.
Also big news for gaming enthusiasts, some of the top gaming engines like Unity, Havok, Game Salad are coming to Tizen.
NTT DOCOMO will make a Tizen device available in the second half of the year.
So will Orange. They like Tizen because of its open nature, and HTML5 focus. The launch will be a part of the ‘back to school’ campaign that will start at the end of summer. Europe only for now.
We also got a look at the in vehicle application of Tizen, Jaguar | Land Rover wants to push the boundaries of what people expect from a in-car Linux based system. A competition to generate ideas, UI elements and functionality is also under way.
Finally, the next major release of Tizen will be the big 3.0. Expect this release in 2014 devices. The roadmap for the release isn’t complete yet, and the development will be done openly on Tizen.org. They encourage platform developers and other open source developers to contribute.
There is a tremendous amount of push to bring big name developers to Tizen. Facebook, Angry Birds were named in the keynote. I saw demoes of Gameloft’s Asphalt 7 and Real Golf running on a Tizen reference device, along with games based on the Unity engine, games from Sega, and Opera Mini.
We’ve seen Open Mobile’s implementation of brining Android apps to Tizen before, but that method involves deployment on a platform level. The Open Mobile code needs to be a part of the Tizen code before the Android apps can be run on Tizen. Infraware, the company behind the Polaris App Player has a different approach.
The way this works in that they have a solution called PAG (Polaris App Generator) that lets the developer upload an Android app (APK) and it converts it into a TPK file that can be installed on the Tizen device. Then to run this modified TPK, you need to have the PAP (Polaris App Player) installed on the phone. Once that’s present, the modified TPK that you just installed will launch inside the PAP, and behave like a native Tizen app.
The company is giving away the Polaris App Player to users for free, in the hope that developers will use their service to deploy their Android apps to Tizen, thus making them money. While I have my doubts about Android Apps ‘officially’ being supported on Tizen, Infraware has a chance of succeeding as they don’t need to be a part of the platform, and have a business model as long as the developers and users are on board. Here is a video of the implementation in action:
While there is a noticeable slow down while running high performance games, most apps should run fine. Although, there will always be the issue of not all UI elements working properly because the app was originally made for Android in mind. The current implementation is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so that means none of the ICS and up only apps, will be available. According to the company, PAG can port 80~90% of Android apps to Tizen app without re-compiling. Some examples include games such as Angrybird series, Counter Terrorist, Treasure Detective, Fruit Slice, Drag Racing, Shut Bubble Deluxe, Cut the Rope Free, Air Hockey etc.
Back in the day Intel had Moblin (PC and tablet OS), and Nokia had Maemo. Both of which came together to form MeeGo, an effort which has since been abandoned. Instead we have Tizen, a OS targeted at not just mobile phones, but also in vehicle systems, tablets and the PCs. While we’ve seen it running on mobile phone hardware (ARM chips), there has so far been nothing on the PC front, that was until today.
At the Tizen Conference 2013, I got a look at Tizen running on Intel’s Ivy Bridge ultrabook. While the PC release of Tizen is still some time away, the following video should give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of the UI and functionality.
The free to download Tizen images for laptops will be made available through Tizen.org website. While the best platform to run that release would be Ivy Bridge and up, I’m told that work is being done to support older chips and netbooks (in a limited way) as well.
Just when you thought MeeGo was a closed chapter, comes news that ex-Nokians who worked on the N9 and the MeeGo community are coming together to ‘continue Nokia’s excellent work on #MeeGo based smartphones’. The new project is called ‘Jolla’, which apparently when translated from Finnish means a better rescue boat, an obvious yet cheeky reference to the infamous burning platform memo.
This is great news for those of you who thought the MeeGo was the way to go for Nokia, but before you get too excited remember that doesn’t meant that your N9 will magically start getting updates from Jolla. That being said, you never know what the community might be able to achieve.
Jolla is here. #MeeGo based smartphones will have a bright, new future. Stay tuned!
Last month I mentioned that a community based solution for bringing WhatsApp to the Nokia N9 was in the works, and today it is finally available for download. Its developer Tarek Galal had realsed a first look video of it running on the N9 a while ago, and now you can grab the .deb file and install it on your own device.
The application is still beta so there might be a few bugs here and there, but its a pretty great accomplishment for the community. Head over the Wazapp.IM and download the app.
The lack of a WhatsApp client was a huge blow to the N9, and I hope WhatsApp reaches across to the developer and helps him in his efforts, rather than try and kill the unofficial port.