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Will Intel’s Tizen mobile operating system succeed?

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Tizen [1], Intel’s new mobile operating system, is supposed to succeed where MeeGo failed. However, the article “From MeeGo to Tizen: the making of another software bubble” by David Neary for VisionMobile expresses doubt:

One thing which has not changed from MeeGo is the wide range of participants being targeted by the project. At the moment, the target audience can best be summarised as “everyone”. Tizen is aimed at platform developers, integrators, vendors, application developers, and mobile enthusiasts. That’s a very wide range of target audiences, each with different needs and expectations. Not knowing your target customer is a surefire way to throw money down the drain.
Technology-wise, there are also many cooks:
We also know is that the primary APIs for 3rd party developers are targeting HTML5 and WAC environments. WAC stands for Wholesale Applications Community, a set of APIs for building and delivering rich HTML5 applications, based on APIs from JIL (Joint Innovation Labs) and BONDI (a platform specified by the now-defunct Open Mobile Terminal Platform, OMTP). The Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), are also set to be a key part of the platform. We can infer two things from this: Qt will be taking a back seat in Tizen, if it is part of the platform at all, and it appears that SLP [the Samsung Linux Platform] will be the basis of the Tizen platform.
  • WAC is an organization run by telecom companies – not by handset makers. Supporting its standards smells like a marketing decision, not a technical decision. At least it makes sense in the HTML5 context. Compare: RIM supporting Android apps on the PlayBook where a completely different technology is hosted by the native QNX.
  • EFL is a portable user interface library that originated with the X11 (Unix) window manager Enlightenment. It has bindings for several languages, including Python, JavaScript, Perl, C++, and Ruby.

The world could really use a truly open mobile operating system. Using HTML5 for the user interface layer also makes a lot of sense. I’ve always wondered why Intel does not go it alone. So far it has not had a lot of luck with its partners; and with Tizen, it is already doing all the talking, while Samsung is largely silent. Another paragraph from the article explains the reason:

Tizen seems set to be another victim of misaligned incentives across several industry partners. Samsung is bringing SLP to the “standards” table simply to find a new home for it, now that LiMo [the organization that previously backed SLP] is winding down. Intel is seeking another marriage of convenience, trying to tempt a major OEM to ship significant x86 chip volumes.
Related reading:
  1. Intel replaces its MeeGo mobile OS with the HTML5-based Tizen