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MWC 2012: Huawei Adds Its Backing To Tizen Mobile OS

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Android beware, Huawei has added its backing to Tizen just as a beta of the new mobile operating system has been made available

Chinese telecom and network equipment maker Huawei has added its backing to the Tizen open source mobile operating system (OS).

The announcement was made during the Mobile World Congress, where it was revealed that besides Huawei joining Tizen’s board of directors, a beta release of the Tizen platform source code and software development kit (SDK) has also been made available.

Tizen Beta

Huawei will find itself in good company as Tizen’s board includes the likes of Intel, Samsung, NEC, Orange, Panasonic, Telefonica and Vodafone. Huawei joining the Tizen drive will see it produce handsets based on the OS for a range of markets.

“We are very happy to join fellow industry leaders on the Board of Tizen Association,” said Glory Zhang, spokeswoman for Huawei Device. “Our ongoing goal is to work closely with our customers and partners to bring truly innovative handset propositions to consumers in all markets and the new Tizen ecosystem complements our existing areas of focus and provides fresh opportunity for tremendously strengthening Huawei’s brand name in the mobile segment.”

While the public backing of a big name equipment maker like Huawei is a welcome boost for Tizen, of more immediate importance is the news that a beta release of the mobile operating system is now available, with the accompanying SDK.

This is important as it will give developers the chance to start working with the new features and functions. Tizen is designed to support smartphones, as well as tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices. The Tizen application programming interfaces are based on HTML5 and W3C Web standards.

The beta release features an updated user interface framework and Web APIs for easier development of rich Web applications and the Tizen SDK now features Windows operating system support, in addition to Ubuntu, to provide developers with greater choice in managing their projects.

Open Source OS

“It is very pleasing that Tizen continues to make good progress while capturing broad industry leadership,” said Morgan Gillis, executive director of Tizen Association. “The new platform seeks to give device vendors freedom to differentiate and to assist operators in all regions to compile user propositions in a flexible way which is attuned to the specific requirements of their markets.”

The Tizen project is open source and the resulting operating system will be based on Linux. The project is hosted by the Linux Foundation but, essentially, Tizen is also being driven by two industry heavyweights. namely Intel and Samsung, who are reportedly leading the technical steering team.

Tizen has roots in MeeGo, the mobile OS that Intel was pursuing with Nokia before the Finnish handset giant made the switch from Symbian to Windows Phone. Last September, Intel also announced it was dropping MeeGo and was backing Tizen instead.

Samsung is also reportedly preparing to merge its Bada operating system with Tizen. Bada is Samsung’s in-house mobile operating system that was introduced in late 2009.

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