Intel is not giving up on Mobile operating systems so easily. The chip maker company which revealed its desire for entering the mobile market with Moblin few years ago has repeatedly failed at creating a viable mobile operating system. The company joined hands with ex-mobile player and now Microsoft mistress Nokia to merge its Maemo with Intel's Moblin under the banner of The Linux Foundation. MeeGo was developing well, but with the arrival of Microsoft executive Mr Elop to turn Nokia into a delivery truck of Microsoft, MeeGo was thrown out of windows. Intel was left alone to gather the MeeGo mess.
Intel has now tapped the arch Apple-rival and leading Android players Samsung to create some opportunities for Intel to enter the mobile space. The two companies have agreed to merge their operating systems Bada and MeeGo to create Tizen.
The two companies are also working with the Linux groups -- Linux Foundation and LiMo to create a new Linux-based operating system. The Linux Foundation had to be involved as MeeGo was hosted at the Linux Foundation. LiMo was involved as Samsung was one of the founding members of the foundation. It is interesting to note that Intel recently signed a deal with Google to work on Android. As Microsoft, Intel's partner in crime, is getting cozy with ARM chips Intel has all the reasons to get worried. It is also interesting to note that both monopolies which abused their position to ward off competition in the desktop segment (Intel was accused of bribing, threatening companies to not use AMD chips, while Microsoft was killing Linux) are now almost extinct in the mobile landscape.
Tizen: The Open Source Project
Intel and Samsung will lead the project to create a Linux-based mobile operating system will will compete with Apple's iOS. Samsung already has a Linux-based mobile operating system called Bada and it will now combine the efforts and work on Tizen. The news of Intel working with Samsung and the two leading Linux foundations is bad news for Microsoft which has lost the mobile OS war and now solely rely on Nokia and its anti-competitive business practices to create any ripple in the mobile space. It will now be harder for Microsoft to spread FUD against Linux and to extort tax from Linux in the mobile space.
Is Tizen Evolution of MeeGo?
Tizen will not be the evolution of MeeGo, it will drift from its core and will be based on the HTML5 and WAC standards.
According to a MeeGo blog "We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment."
How different will be Tizen from MeeGo?
As it appears, apart from the code, the organizational structure and the development model of Tizen will remain the same. MeeGo blog further states that in the new project a lot of things will be the same as they were in the MeeGo project. The Tizen project will reside within the Linux Foundation, will be governed by a Technical Steering Group, and will be developed openly with familiar and improved infrastructure. Much like MeeGo, the Tizen project will support multiple device categories, including Tablets, Netbooks, Handsets, Smart TV, and In-Vehicle Infotainment systems.
What Will MeeGo User Do?
Does this mean the end of MeeGo and the user who have been using MeeGo on their devices will be left high and dry? Yes, it does mean the end of MeeGo as a project and an operating system but it doesn't mean that the users will be left out. The team clearly states that they will make sure that users of MeeGo can easily transition to Tizen. The team will also work towards helping developers transition to Tizen.
Future of Tizen
Everything is rosy till this point, but the moment we start talking about the future of Tizen we see a hazy picture. The future of Tizen is uncertain as Intel has earned the reputation of being unsuccessful in the mobile space. Moblin and MeeGo have left bitter taste in the mouth of developers and hardware players. Will the new developers have the same level of trust after witnessing the fate of Moblin, Maemo and MeeGo? However, it is a morale booster for MeeGo developers who now see new life being pumped into the Nokia-abandoned operating system. MeeGo will only become more powerful with Tizen.
Market of Tizen
Creating a new Linux-based operating system is not a big deal, the challenge is to market it, create an app ecosystem around it and to put it on devices. Android, despite being world's most popular Linux based mobile operating system is trailing behind iOS in terms of number of applications. How will Intel and Samsung address the issue is what will decide the fate of Tizen. How many players will actually put Tizen on their devices? Or will it be Samsung dabbling with Tizen the way Nokia was flirting with MeeGo?
Tizen is basically Samsung replacing Nokia. So, it has more to do with Intel trying to keep its Moblin alive than Samsung's desire to dominate the mobile landscape. Samsung has already become the leading mobile player thanks to Android. So, the broader picture is Samsung is just another Nokia here to offer Intel with hardware which can run its mobile operating system. What different is Intel going to do with Tizen is something that will decide the future and success of Tizen.
In my opinion, nothing is going to change in this landscape, apart from the fact that MeeGo will now be known as Tizen, unless Intel does something different here.
On a positive note, it is good news for Linux user who will have a free and open Linux based operating system to run on your mobile devices.