First Tizen Smartphones Expected In Time For MWC

The first Tizen smartphones are set to be released in time for Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month, according to reports, with Samsung and Japanese operator NTT Docomo stepping up plans for the open source operating system.

Samsung, which along with Intel is one of the major backers of Tizen, had been expected to launch a smartphone last year, but will now target both developed and developing markets from the spring, with an app store also set to be announced during MWC.

NTT Docomo, which chairs the consortium of companies tasked with promoting business projects using Tizen, also planned to launch a Tizen smartphone before the end of 2013, but suffered delays in development. It told the AFP that there should be a Tizen handset available by the end of March but would not commit to that deadline.

Tizen smartphones

The attraction for NTT Docomo is that Tizen’s open nature will allow it to offer services and applications tailored to the Japanese mobile market. This is not a small thing: Japan’s market has evolved so differently to the rest of the world due to different consumer tastes, that it has been likened to the Galapagos Islands.

Tizen is one of a number of open source operating systems hoping to offer an alternative to the likes of iOS, Android and Windows Phone, with Firefox OS, Sailfish OS and Ubuntu Mobile all in various stages of development.

The Linux Foundation, which oversees the Tizen project’s code, says the main advantage of the operating system is that it is truly open source and manufacturers can make alterations to the interface without affecting compliance and compatibility standards – unlike Android.

Analysts believe that Tizen has the best chance of the four platforms of making an impact on the global smartphone market, partly due to its expected popularity in Asia, thanks to the support of Samsung, Huawei and Fujitsu among others.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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