Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tizen and Bad to merge - January 17th

By Markus Gausling

According to Forbes [1] Samsung will merge its Bada OS with Tizen. Only few details are known but this is supposed to bring the Bada interfaces to Tizen and should include backwards compatibility with already existing Bada applications.

Such a move would have a few advantages from Samsung's point of view. First it would immediately provide thousands of existing applications for coming Tizen devices. Those devices could gain immediate access to the Bada applications available in Samsung's application store.

It would also allow Bada developers to develop for Tizen as well and as such increase the base of potential application developers.

Additionally this might be a move for Samsung to reduce the number of platforms they currently support (e.g. Bada, Window Phone 7, Android).

So this looks like a reasonable direction for Samsung to go.

[1] Forbes


Friday, January 13, 2012

Tizen is here - January 13th

By Markus Gausling

On 7th of January a preview version of the Tizen SDK for Ubuntu was released ([1]). The official 1.0 release is scheduled later this quarter and shall also support versions for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac.
Tizen is maintained by the Linux Foundation with strong contribution from companies such as Intel and Samsung. It is designed to run on different systems such a smartphones, smart TVs, netbooks, tablets or in-vehicle infotainment systems. The released alpha version however is targeting smartphones and tablets primarily.
Tizen is planned to run on x86 and ARM architectures in the future.

Tizen’s architecture
Tizen is a Linux system which also uses a number of open source components. It provides an application environment which is based on HTML5 and Wholesale Application Community (WAC) standards, see [4].

The list of supported interfaces in the Tizen Web API layer can be grouped into the following three categories:
  • W3C - Contains interfaces for W3C-defined standards. This includes interfaces for standards such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, SVG or W3C Geolocation APIs.
  • Khronos interfaces – Interface for the Khronos-defined standards such as WebGL and the Typed Arrays API.
  • Tizen interfaces – Additional interfaces to access platform functionality not covered by W3C and Khronos. This includes e.g. PIM, Messaging and Call, Sensors, Bluetooth or NFC interfaces.
The Tizen SDK
The Eclipse based IDE contains a set of tools to develop Tizen applications using HTML/JavaScript/CSS. This includes an HTML WYSIWYG editor and debuggers. It also contains an x86-based QEMU emulator. Developer documentation is of course also included.
In addition to the SDK the Tizen source code is available in a preview version via Git ([3]).

Hands on experience
Setting up the environment was quite straightforward although it took some time to download the packages. Creating a sample Hello World with the application wizard went fine. As the IDE is Eclipse-based most developers should be immediately familiar with it.
The Emulator and the platform itself feels quite responsive and stable. This is probably also due to the fact that HW acceleration for the emulator is supported. Also the UI of Tizen looks reasonably designed and you feel immediately at home when you are already familiar with Android or iOS.
Developing some simple web applications with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and the WYSIWYG also was straightforward. The applications could be quickly developed and tested. All in all developing for Tizen seems to be fun.

On a first glance Tizen has all the ingredients to become a successful platform. The Web Application based approach seems to be promising and seems to support rapid application development. This might attract a lot of new developers coming from the Web development area.
I believe developing native applications or at least support for native components is required as well though. So far I have heard that this is planned however I haven’t heard any details on this yet.
With Android, iOS or Windows already a number of players in the same segments are available today. MeeGo will also be maintained although it remains to be seen to what extent. So MeeGo can be regarded as a potential competitor as well.
On top of that Intel is still struggling to enter the mobile markets. With their latest Intel Medfield platform it is expected they will enter these ARM-dominated segments though.
Last but not least device manufacturers and end customer need to support the platform as well. Let’s see where this will lead…

[1] An early look at Tizen - https://www.tizen.org/
[2] Tizen developer page -  https://developer.tizen.org/
[3] Tizen Source Code - http://source.tizen.org/git/
[4] Wholesale Application Community (WAC) - http://www.wacapps.net/