Making Sense of Location Based Services

Tizen – a replacement for Android?

Tizen is the next OS that can be termed as a true linux OS which will be made available to the market at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.

Tizen is an open source OS and software platform for all sorts of computers but mainly mobile devices. This means that Tizen should eventually offer the same environment and applications for use on netbooks, smart TV’s and in cars. Development has already started on a Tizen In-vehicle Infotainment platform which would make Tizen applications be made available on cars, buses and airplanes

The Tizen platform is hosted by the Linux Foundation. There is a Tizen Association that looks after marketing and education, and handles requirements gathering and other functions – but the important decisions are taken by the Technical Steering Group. Currently the two largest active members are Intel and Samsung. Other Tizen partners with different levels of commitment which include manufactures such as Panasonic, Fujistu and mobile operators such as NTT Docomo, Sprint and Vodafone.

Tizen aims to be a successor to Maemo, Moblin, the LiMo Foundation and the Bada/Wave platform from Samsung. This begs a question, does the market need another Linux-based mobile OS? Diversity is good – but the answer is more political then that. In the past there were four main players in the smartphone market. Apple, with its OS running on its own hardware, Nokia and Microsoft, Google and HTC and finally Samsung which is running a successful campaign with Android.

The reason for Samsung developing Tizen could be related “because they can” and there should be diversity in the market. But this then begs the question wether the apps would be able to be ported over from Android and Bada? Apparently that would be possible because of the “Application Compatabilty Layer” from OpenMobile.

OpenMobile specifically deals with OEMs (Original Equipement Manufacturers) and mobile operators and its main business model is to put ACL inside phones before they are on sale. OpenMobile does offer a free ACL app, an online AppMail for ACL users, and another app to browse it. The AppMail integrates 10 stores in one single catalogue of more than 250,000 Android apps.

How does Tizen work? Tizen has been developed based on two assumptions; first that Android Apps maybe recompiled or just used with ACL and the second that the future belongs to HTML5-based applications making the OS optimised for that set of technologies.

Tizen has Linux at its core; the stack begins with a modified linux kernel and a set of device drivers. On top of that, from bottom to top, the so called Core, a native framework and a Web Framework. The Core subsystem consists of basic, common open source libraries and API’s.

The Native Framwork is a bundle of system services and libraries, packaged in namespaces. There are namespaces for graphics, location support, security and much more. All together, the namespaces provide thousands of open interfaces with which native applications can be built. The Web framework provides HTML5 support and integration with all the basic services, from audio and video to geolocation and messaging.

Tizen is now on its second stable release (2.0) entitled Magnolia which arrived at the beginning of 2013. It brought several native applications and new hardware API’s, with bluetooth and NFC support.

Source of information is Linux Format Magazine

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