Chances for a Tizen Smartphone Entry
Tizen is a fresh new project, but it has roots in several pre-existing platforms including the distributions Moblin, MeeGo and LiMo. According to the Tizen Association, "The mobile marketplace has undergone extensive change over the past few years. New platforms have emerged, new revenue models have been enabled, and innovations continue to emerge rapidly from all corners of the industry. Tizen is an open-source solution that provides an innovative platform offering a high level of flexibility in service selection and deployment."
Figure 1. Family Tree of Tizen's Historical Roots (GNU Free Documentation License 1.3)
Tizen's roots and rich history bring a number of groups together and give rise to a management problem. To leverage the competence of the groups involved, Tizen is managed by the following:
The Linux Foundation: according to the official documentation, the Tizen project "resides" within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a Technical Steering Group.
The Technical Steering Group: the Technical Steering Group is the primary decision-making body for Tizen, with a focus on platform development and delivery, along with the formation of working groups to support device verticals.
The Tizen Association: the Tizen Association has been formed to guide the industry role of Tizen, including gathering of requirements, identification and facilitation of service models, and overall industry marketing and education. In the Tizen Association's own words, "The Tizen Association's charter is to actively develop the ecosystem around Tizen, which includes the market presence, gathering of requirements, identification and facilitation of service models, and overall industry marketing and education."
Corporate Supporters: the two corporations providing the longest-running support for Tizen are Intel and Samsung. Other manufacturers include NEC, Panasonic, Fujitsu and Huawei. Several telecommunications operator corporations supporting Tizen market adoption include Orange, NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, KT, the Vodafone group, Telefonica and Sprint. Finally, Jaguar Land Rover heads up the automotive market in adopting Tizen for its IVI infrastructure.
Huawei Onboard: according to analyst David Kerr, VP of Global Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics, "The addition of Huawei is a significant step forward adding one of the fastest-growing handset vendors in the world and reinforcing the potential for an alternative to Android to develop in both mature and emerging markets for smart devices. The decision by Huawei to support Tizen follows hot on the heels of several other announcements, all of which put pressure primarily on the Android OS and clearly demonstrate that most major vendors and indeed operators continue to hedge their bets as uncertainty and concerns over Google's dominance continue." Sadly, early adopters of Tizen technology have felt little Huawei presence or support so far, the company being suspiciously absent from the recent Tizen developer conference although advertisements stated Huawei sponsorship. According to one industry insider, the company had planned a conference appearance but backed out of the arrangement, leaving one to hope that other relatively passive players like Fujitsu, Panasonic or NEC are not sitting on the sidelines for lack of optimism.
The Tizen Steering Group directs Tizen's technology while the Tizen Association serves its industrial interests. The Linux Foundation, Intel and Samsung are its largest sponsors.
Figure 2. Home Screen of the New Tizen OS (GNU Free Documentation License 1.3)
Michael Schloh von Bennewitz is a computer scientist and expert on network software engineering.
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