Samsung bets big time on Tizen OS

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Updated: August 10, 2015 12:19:12 PM

The South Korean electronics major takes baby steps towards making Tizen its mainstream operating system for mobile phones, TVs, wearable devices

samsung tizen osSamsung will bring a connected platform based on Tizen to all its household appliances and aims to get all Samsung consumer appliances connected by 2020.

Tizen, the Samsung-backed open source operating system for everything from feature phones to smart wearables and televisions, will get a boost with over a thousand developers working on creating new uses for the platform. At the Tizen Developer Summit held in Bengaluru, a two-day conference aimed at educating, engaging and exciting existing and potential developers, the company announced that developers will be given a reference design smartphone for developing and testing their apps.

“TDS 2015 Bengaluru is significant as nearly half of the apps in the Tizen Store are created by developers from India.  This reflects the enormous opportunity in India where a large base of platform and app developers continues to show significant interest to develop Tizen OS and high-quality apps,” said Aloknath De, chief technology officer and VP-Samsung R&D Institute. Samsung calls Tizen the “OS of Everything”, meaning an OS that every Samsung devices will run in the future. The theme of the conference was how Samsung will empower various devices to connect with another using Tizen. Samsung executives even described how Tizen could be used to make smart cameras.

At Tizen Developer Summit, Samsung announced two new SDKs—version 2.3.1 and 2.4 Beta. With SDK 2.3.1 for wearables, developers will be able to write native apps apart from the existing web-apps. The new SDK will also bring support for smartwatches with circular display. The interesting announcement at TDS 2015 was not the support for circular display but how the circular bezel of the smartwatch will be used for navigation. This is very well related to the crown interface used in Apple Watch.

With SDK 2.4 Beta for wearables, smartphones and TVs, Samsung will bring graphics driven rich user interface and Cloudbox that will help users get content from various cloud based systems. Considering that none of the leading cloud services exist on Tizen, Cloudbox will make access to cloud services easier. This SDK also supports a new 3D engine named DALi (Dynamic Animation Library) that will help developers bring full 3D applications to the platform. Also there is support for contextual triggering that will customise Tizen functions according to user behaviour.

Samsung also announced that it has sold over one million units of Z1 since its launch. The consensus is that Samsung is trying to penetrate the feature phone segment with Tizen and it is totally unclear if and when Samsung will make a Tizen flagship. During his keynote De said, “27% of Tizen developers are from India while the global developer percentage is just 1% for India. He emphasised how 100% revenue to developers in the first-year makes the platform extremely lucrative for young Indian developers.” He added that “27 out of the top rank apps are games in the Tizen store and now Unity is bringing its 3D gaming engine to Tizen.”

The new SDKs will bring support for HTML, Javascript and Cascading Style Sheets which will enable development of intuitive UIs for the platform. Samsung also announced its plan to invest $100 million to create an open system for Internet of Things (IoT) based on Tizen platform. Samsung will bring a connected platform based on Tizen to all its household appliances and aims to get all Samsung consumer appliances connected by 2020.

While De didn’t share exact numbers on its app platform, he added that there has been 84% growth in the app development and developers can bring Android apps to Tizen using Android Compatibility library. With Samsung’s revenues dipping from flagships and growing conflict of interest with Google, Samsung seems to be slowly developing an alternative OS for the prime-time.

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