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Tizen turns up in an IVI system and a fridge

Nov 21, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Close on the heels of the revelation that Samsung’s NX300M camera runs Tizen, this week saw an announcement by Nexcom of a developer-focused, Intel Atom-based automotive computer called the VTC 1010-IVI that supports the Tizen In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) stack, plus news of a Tizen-enabled Samsung smart refrigerator. Meanwhile, Samsung’s first Tizen phones are rumored to be under test at Korean mobile carriers.

As we await the first phones to run the Linux Foundation’s open source Linux based Tizen OS, the focus has been on Samsung. Yet there’s another tech giant quietly backing the platform: Intel. Tizen has always been claimed to support both ARM and x86, and now for the first time we’re seeing action on the x86 front. Nexcom announced an Intel Atom-based IVI vehicle computer that supports the Tizen IVI stack, in addition to various Windows flavors (see farther below for full details).

First, as to those oft-delayed Tizen phones, according to ZDNet Korea, on Nov. 19 Samsung began testing its Tizen phone with an unnamed Korean carrier. As Unwired View speculated this would appear to keep the phone on track for a first half 2014 release.

Meanwhile, another ZDNet Korea story posted yesterday quotes Samsung engineer Elvin Kim as saying Tizen and Android will coexist rather than Tizen becoming the primary platform. The story also says, however, that Tizen “will be presented to the market starting at the end of next year.”

 
Samsung Tizen refrigerator tipped

Samsung’s first Tizen-based refrigerator was tipped by ddaily.co.kr (Google translation), which sources an unnamed Samsung official as saying Samsung will formally unveil the product on Jan. 7 at the CES show in Las Vegas. Several photos (below) were also posted at ddaily.co.kr and elsewhere, but it’s unclear if they are of the new Tizen refrigerator or of other Samsung “smart refrigerator” models.



First Tizen refrigerator?
(click images to enlarge)

 

The Samsung’s “smart refrigerator” will run Tizen on a Nexell application processor, and will feature 256MB to 512MB DDR2 RAM, as well as flash memory and WiFi, says the story. Nexell offers an ARM11 system-on-chip, as well as two Cortex-A9 SoCs, including a 28nm-fabricated quad-core model called the NXP4330Q.

 
Samsung’s other announced Tizen device: the NX300M camera

At we reported earlier this month, Samsung revealed its very first Tizen-based device at the Tizen Developer Summit: the Samsung NX300M camera. The camera reportedly first shipped a “month or so” ago, but Samsung had not previously disclosed that it was using an embedded Tizen OS.



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.

 
Nexcom VTC 1010-IVI system

Nexcom’s VTC 1010-IVI system is the first IVI product we’ve seen that runs Tizen, and the first Tizen product to run on an x86 processor. The car computer is a development and prototyping platform designed to let automakers “explore and validate design ideas without developing an IVI system from the ground up and therefore to narrow the time gap between concept and commercialization,” stated Steven Wu, GM of Mobile Computing Solutions Nexcom.



Nexcom’s VTC 1010-IVI optionally runs Tizen
(click images to enlarge)

 

The feature set appears to point to trucking and commercial fleet applications, rather than consumer autos. It was recently revealed that Toyota and Jaguar/Land Rover are both working on vehicles with Tizen IVI systems.

Nexcom does not refer to the system as an official Intel Atom development platform for Tizen IVI, but it appears to be the only such platform commercially available. Intel also supplied a testimonial in Nexcom’s announcement of the device: “As a major contributor to the Tizen IVI project, Intel is delighted to have the NEXCOM VTC 1010-IVI available to the open source ecosystem for development of advanced connected vehicle technologies” stated Mark Skarpness, director, Systems Engineering, Software and Services Group at Intel Corp.

The VTC 1010-IVI supports the Tizen In-Vehicle Infotainment (Tizen IVI) software platform, which enables a vehicle to become “an information desk, a media service center, a Wi-Fi hotspot and even a mobile diagnostic center,” says Nexcom. Capabilities available in the Tizen IVI stack include news, real-time traffic information, navigation, on-demand multimedia streaming services, remote vehicle management, telephony, and other connected services, says the company.

The VTC 1010-IVI runs Tizen or various Windows flavors on an Intel Atom E3827 processor from the Bay Trail-I embedded strain of new Silvermont architecture Atoms. The dual-core SoC runs at 1.75GHz, yet has a fairly modest 8W TDP. The SoC also brings Intel AES New Instructions security technology to the IVI device.

The 180 x 180 x 50mm (7.1 x 7.1 x 2.0 inch) system is equipped with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, expandable to 8GB, and there’s an SD slot for expansion. The IVI system also includes a 2.5-inch SATA bay, and four mini-PCIe expansion slots to support “3G/4G networks, Wi-Fi tethering, and Bluetooth pairing with mobile devices,” says Nexcom. Dual SIM slots are also available for popping in cellular cards.

Like any good IVI system, it offers built-in GPS, and it also provides a variety of 9-axis sensors. Front-facing I/O includes a USB 3.0 port and audio jacks. In the back you can find a USB 2.0 port, while additional USB connections are available via the mini-PCIe slots. Rear I/O also includes a gigabit Ethernet port, as well as a VGA, a DisplayPort, more audio I/O, and an RS232 port.

More serial connections are available from a 60-pin LHF connector, which also supports a CAN bus and general programmable I/O. Connections can be found for two optional modules: an OBD-II diagnostics module and a dead reckoning navigation module.

The OBD-II module can be set up to report to a cloud server to allow for real-time vehicle status and remote vehicle control, says Nexcom. This option also lets users call emergency services. A video capture card add-on also plugs into this 60-pin connector.

The VTC 1010-IVI can endure temperatures of -30 to 70°C and can resist vibration and shock based on military standard 810G, says Nexcom. Intelligent vehicle power management features and wake-up on ignition are also said to be available.

Nexcom’s VTC 1010-IVI system appears to be available now at an unstated price. More information may be found at Nexcom’s VTC 1010-IVI product page.
 

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.
 

About Tizen


Tizen Architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Basically, Tizen is a cross-architecture, open source software platform based on a comprehensive standards-based HTML5 implementation that was designed to support multiple device segments, including the smartphone, tablet, smart TV, netbook, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) markets.

To achieve this cross-platform flexibility, Tizen uses HTML5 as the main focus for application development, allowing developers to maintain a single codebase. The Tizen platform supports Web applications (HTML, Javascript, CSS) and provides a rich set of services that include an application framework plus content, location, messaging, multimedia, network, social, and system services.

Slides from the Tizen Architecture talk at the May 2012 Tizen Developer Conference are available here (pdf file). For further details on Tizen, visit the Tizen project website.

 

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