Tizen has come a long way since the last Developer Conference. In 2013 we just had the NX 300 camera in terms of real world devices running Tizen. Today we have a TV, a camera, the Gear smart watches and the just announced Samsung Z smartphone. With the exception of the TV, a demo of which you can find here, all other products are or will be in stores very soon. There is also an in-vehicle infotainment demo that is being showcased in a Land Rouver and a Chevy Corvette.
Tizen had its roots in an HTML5 based operating system, but since then has expanded to include native code. Which means that high intensity graphics are completely at home and the UI itself feels smooth and the frame rates remain high. The OS has had a tumulus journey, with people wondering if it was going to survive the Samsung-Google cross patent deal. But it does seem like Samsung is completely behind the project and is still looking to leverage its bets.
The major theme of the Tizen keynote was, Tizen – the OS of everything.
At the Tizen Developer Conference Samsung’s Executive Vice President, J-D Choi just showed off the first Tizen smartphone, the Samsung Z. Accompanying the presentation was this demo that Samsung has put together for the Z.
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.
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.