There was Tizen news aplenty at the Tizen Developer Summit including a Tizen 2.2.1 release, new details on Tizen 3.0, a Tizen-based Samsung NX300M camera, and an upcoming Tizen Mobile Lite version for low-end phones. Yet, there was no sign of the Tizen phone, and a Samsung executive was quoted as saying that the first Tizen phone would be delayed until 2014.
When the Tizen phone failed to make an appearance at Samsung’s Developer Conference in late October, there was still hope that Samsung would unveil a phone at the Tizen Developer Summit held Nov. 11-12 in Seoul, Korea. Day one, however, came and went with plenty of Tizen goodies, including a Samsung camera running Tizen, but no Tizen phone. Meanwhile, The Korea Herald quoted a Samsung executive as saying the first phone would be delayed until 2014.
Speaking at the Smart TV Global Summit 2013 in Seoul, Kim Hyun-seok, head of Samsung Electronics’s visual display unit said the first Tizen-based smart TVs wouldn’t appear until after the first Tizen phones, which were expected to ship sometime in 2014. Digital Trends, which picked up the story, speculated that Samsung would use the Mobile World Congress in February to unveil the phone.
Prototypes of the first phone to run the Samsung-backed Linux-based operating system have been popping up on the web since May, but in July Samsung said the first phones would be delayed from the summer to the fall of 2013. At the Samsung’s Developer Conference several weeks ago, there were rumors the phone was being delayed until 1Q 2014. The latest sighting of a prototype arrived Oct. 31 when TizenExperts posted a video of a Tizen device called the Z9005 (“RedWood”) running Tizen 2.2.
Samsung’s first Tizen device: the NX300M camera
At the Tizen Developer Summit Conference, Samsung showed off its very first Tizen-based device, in the form of the Samsung NX300M camera. The camera has been shipping for a “month or so,” according to a TizenExperts report, but only now has Samsung revealed the Tizen OS within. In fact, it appears the camera beat out Systena’s developer-oriented Tizen tablet for honors as the first shipping Tizen device.
Samsung NX300M smart camera reportedly runs Tizen
(click images to enlarge)
The 20.3-megapixel mirrorless NX300M is an updated version of a previous model. The $850 camera is further equipped with a 3.31-inch AMOLED touchscreen with a 180 degree swivel, as well as an APS-C sensor that enables 9fps continuous shooting, and an 100-25,600 ISO range. Further details (in Korean) are available on Samsung’s NX300M product page.
Tizen 2.2.1 plus Tizen 3.0’s 64-bit support
Prior to the conference, the Linux Foundation’s Tizen.org, which is backed by a host of carriers and tech firms led by Samsung and Intel, released Tizen 2.2.1. The new release adds privacy control and system framework features, as well as the ability to install apps via SD cards.
At the developers summit, there was no Tizen 3.0 demo, as had been expected, but the Tizen project unveiled new details about the release, according to TizenExperts. Tizen.org also revealed that Tizen 3.0 will be delayed to the third quarter of 2014, suggesting that the first phones will run Tizen 2.2.1.
Tizen 3.0 is now shown to offer an updated core and toolchain, multiple-user support, and support for ARM and Intel Architecture 64-bit processors. Other updates include a new 3D UI framework and a switch from X to the Wayland windows manager.
The project also unveiled Tizen 3.0’s support for the open source Crosswalk HTML app runtime. Built on the Chromium/Blink rendering engine, Crosswalk will provide Tizen’s HTML5 apps with a portable runtime with functionality similar to what’s available in Chrome OS. Tizen offers developers a choice of both HTML5 and native app development based on the earlier LiMo (Linux Mobile) spec, but the project has been increasingly focusing on HTML5.
Tizen Mobile Lite dips to 256MB RAM
Perhaps the most intriguing news to come out of the developer summit is Tizen Mobile Lite, a lightweight version of Tizen designed for low-cost mobile phones. As reported by The Handheld Blog, Tizen Mobile Lite will require only 256MB RAM and 512MB flash — half the requirements of today’s profile for Tizen phones. It will also support HVGA and QVGA screen resolutions, while Tizen 2.2.1 supports HD and WVGA displays. No more details were provided, nor was a release date announced, but it does not appear the release will be part of the first wave of Tizen phones.
Tizen Mobile Lite v.s Tizen Mobile Full
(click image to enlarge; source: TizenIndonesia blog)
Neither Tizen.org or Samsung — the only manufacturer that has so far committed to shipping Tizen-based phones — has been clear about its market focus for Tizen mobile devices. Considering the 64-bit support coming in Tizen 3.0, however, Samsung appears to want it both ways. Samsung has apparently decided it needs a low-end play, especially considering Mozilla and its similarly HTML5 focused Firefox OS is off to a fast start in the sub-$100 phone market. ZTE and Alcatel manufactured Firefox OS phones are already shipping in Latin America and other neglected markets.
Google, too, is focusing on the potentially huge, but lower-margin low-end smartphone market. Last week, it unveiled an Android 4.4 “KitKat” build that lowers RAM requirements to 512MB. It’s unclear if there will ever be much of a market for smartphones that go as low as 256MB, as can be found in some of the original Firefox OS models. But now Tizen can join Mozilla in saying they can dip lower than Android if need be. The key question is how much lower they can go in price.
Tizen Association launched
Also today, the Tizen Association announced the launch of a partner program “aimed at broadening support of the Tizen Platform across a more diverse set of connected device manufacturers, operators, application developers and independent software vendors (ISVs).” In connection with the announcement, the association announced 36 new members. They are: 11 Bit Studios, ACCESS, appbackr, AppCarousel, ArtSpark Holdings, Celsys Inc., Citymaps, Crucial Tec, eBay, F@N Communications, Goo Technologies, HERE, a Nokia business, HI Corporation, Igalia S.L., KeyPoint Technologies, KONAMI, Konantech, McAfee, Mobica, Monotype Imaging Inc., Mutecsoft, Neos Corporation, NTT Data MSE, Open Mobile, Panasonic, PCPhase, Quixey, Reaktor Fusion, Sharp, Symphony Teleca, Systena, The Weather Channel, Tieto, TrendMicro, TuneIn Radio, and YoYo Games.
What is Tizen?
A short introduction to Tizen appears in the box below. Other Tizen-related stories appear in the Related Posts list below the box.