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The Absolute Latest In The World of Mobile

Tizen: State of The Union

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).

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • 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.

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • The Tizen Store has been announced, and is open for app developers to submit their apps. Users cannot access it yet.

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • Tizen 2 also has an inbuilt security layer, McAfee has contributed to this. 

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • A Tizen App Challenge has been announced. Submissions will be accepted June 1 onwards, and a total of 4$ Million is up for grabs. 

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • Also big news for gaming enthusiasts, some of the top gaming engines like Unity, Havok, Game Salad are coming to Tizen. 

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • NTT DOCOMO will make a Tizen device available in the second half of the year.

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • 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.

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • 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. 

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  • 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. 

Tizen: State of The Union (NTT DOCOMO Will Launch A Device in 2H '13)

  •  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.

Video: Running Android Apps On Tizen With Polaris

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.

Android Apps Tizen Polaris

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.

Demo: Tizen Running On A Laptop

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.

Demo: Tizen Running On A Laptop

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.

(YouTube link)

Thanks to Patrick from Intel for the demo.

Tizen 2.1 (Nectarine) SDK & Source Code Released Ahead Of The Tizen Developer Conference

Just in time for the Tizen Developer Conference that kicks off today (May 22nd) in San Francisco, the source code and SDK for Tizen 2.1, codenamed Nectarine has been released. You will note that Tizen 2.0 Magnolia had debuted not too long ago in February, and the 2.1 release follows in its heals. Nectarine contains several new features and performance enhancements. A full list of the changes it brings is here, highlights include:

  • Enhanced Web framework that provides state-of-the-art HTML5/W3C API support including new features, such as Content Security Policy 1.0 and Navigation Timing, and relevant specification updates
  • Web DynamicBox runtime framework supporting the embedding of Web DynamicBox in viewer-like applications (e.g., home screen application)
  • Enhanced Web IDE providing WYSIWYG design environment, Chrome-based JavaScript inspector, and JavaScript log viewer
  • Native IDE providing a project wizard, WYSIWYG design environment, unit test tool, and dynamic analyzer

Tizen Developer Conference 2013

According to the Conference schedule, the main keynote with Imad N. Sousou, VP of Intel Software and Services Group, GM of Intel Open Source Technology Center, and Intel Co-Chair on the Tizen Technical Steering Group and Jong-Deok Choi, Executive VP of Samsung, and Samsung Co-Chair on the Tizen Technical Steering Group happens on Thursday morning, and that’s when you can expect to hear more concrete details about where Tizen is headed.

Samsung has already publicly stated that commercial Tizen devices are coming this year, and its Bada OS has since been folded into Tizen. The official conference hashtag is #TizenDevCon but over the years people have been know to use #TizenConf as well.

With The Lumia 928, Nokia Concentrates On HQ Sound: Both Recording & Playback [+Other Specs]

Nokia Lumia 928 has just been announced, and its big differentiator from the Lumia 920 is supposed to be the Xenon flash and the new squared design. But that’s not all that has improved. The Lumia 928 also packs three high-audio-amplitude-capture (HAAC) microphones to ensure that users get great HQ audio capture, no matter where the recording is taking place. It could be a concert, a noisy room, a party but the HAAC mikes ensure that the audio is distortion free and rich. As long at the audio isn’t above 140db, your video will sounds great. To give you a better idea of what that means, jet engines produce a 140 db sound.

Lumia 928 Sound

But that’s not all. I’m glad to see Nokia also invest in high quality sound output from the phone. Nokia claims that the Lumia 928 features “one of the most advanced loudspeakers available for smartphones”. Inside the Lumia 928 is a powerful digital amplifier that is “combined with real-time measurement and control, resulting in unmatched clarity and loudness”. I like the sound of that.

Lumia 928 Loudspeaker

We’ll get an idea of how true this is very soon, but if the speaker grill on the back is anything to go buy, Nokia’s claims might not be far from the truth. Nokia’s made of the best sounding phones in the past, the Nokia X6 and the 5800 Xpress Music come to mind. Here’s hoping the Lumia 928 continues that tradition.

While the cheaper devices generally have insanely loud speakers (think Xpress Music Nokias), great sounding high-end smartphones should be also be a priority for all manufacturers. Hopefully Nokia’s May 14 Lumia announcement for the rest of the world will feature similar kit as well.

Before you leave, here is the Lumia 928 spec sheet.

Lumia 928 Specs -1

Lumia 928 Specs -2

Hat tip to @WhatTheBit for the link to the Lumia 928 reviewer’s guide

Nokia Lumia 928 For Verizon Is Official: On Sale May 16th

After weeks of leaks and teasers, the Nokia Lumia 928 for Verizon is now official. In a post on Nokia Conversations, Nokia has detailed its latest Lumia device, and announced that it will be available on May 16th at VerizonWireless.com and Verizon Wireless Stores across the US. Further, for  a limited time buyers will also received a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games with the purchase of the phone.

wss

The Lumia 928 builds on the 920, but is slightly more squared than its elder sibling and also manages to pack 8.7 MP camera with a Xenon flash while remaining relatively thin. There’s wireless charging, a 4.5″ display, three high-audio-amplitude-capture microphones to give you great audio recording capabilities. There’s also a built in LED light for use during video capture.

The Lumia 928 will be available in Black and White for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate with a two year contract. Nokia also claims that the Lumia 928 will have one of the most advanced speakers, and after the HTC One, its good to see Nokia pay attention to this aspect of the phone as well.