Chances for a Tizen Smartphone Entry
Web Framework Support
Scoring 492 of 500 points at html5test.com, "Tizen support for HTML5 is the best among mobile browsers", says Samsung executive VP Jong-Deok Choi. Speaking of its Web runtime and Web framework support, "Tizen is the platform most compliant with HTML5 standards", agrees Mr Dufal. It's also important to note that security features like content security policy (CSP) are built in to Tizen's Web runtime as well.
Regarding the question of how high Tizen will rise by leveraging Web technologies, W3C mobile Web initiative activity lead Dominique Hazael-Massieux replies, "Tizen is very well positioned for sure."
Native Framework Support
Figure 7. The Tizen SDK's Eclipse-Based IDE (GNU Free Documentation License 1.3)
Developers accustomed to POSIX server technology can port their existing IA32 server software quickly and easily using the tools freely available in the Tizen SDK (supporting Linux, OS X and Win32 OS types). Packaging the ported software to RPM files and installing to the device is straightforward. Other developers of client apps can choose from Web or native frameworks and deploy from the Tizen Store in the usual way.
Providing a special native application framework, Tizen supports POSIX development as well as full OpenGL ES hardware accelerated graphics development using the Enlightenment Foundation Library (EFL).
Integral Hybrid Packaging Support
Figure 8. Tizen supports a broad range of technologies in mobile apps (GNU Free Documentation License 1.3).
Tizen includes logic to run native (often server) code alongside Web (often client) code packaged together, providing a convenient transport for complex applications requiring device-specific features (for example, an SSL crypto library) as well as a high-level UI (for example, Web-based for ease of maintenance).
Third-Party Hybrid Abstraction Support
Finally, third-party providers of system abstraction frameworks like Adobe Phonegap, Apache Cordova and Appcelerator Titanium serve to fill any technical API gaps and facilitate porting of existing applications even further.
Hope for the Less-Savvy End User
It remains to be seen how enthusiastic a less tech-savvy user will be about such distinctive technical features, but such users may indirectly profit from quick porting of outstanding applications in other mobile OS distributions. They could benefit additionally from high-powered compiled applications running on Tizen's native APIs when such an architecture is relevant. This model appears to match Research in Motion's efforts with its Blackberry 10 release; however, closer inspection reveals nuances in handling of Web applications by the respective Web runtimes as well as obvious differences in graphics widget toolkits and POSIX implementations.
Application Deployment and the Tizen Store
According to the Tizen Association, "As part of the Tizen Association's focus on ecosystem development, the Tizen Store will launch later in 2013 with thousands of apps, allowing developers to monetize their work and creating a robust ecosystem. The outreach to app developers to build HTML5 apps has begun."
It remains to be seen how favorably developers will take to Tizen's store or how enthusiastically consumers will use it. Although Director of Systems Engineering Mark Skarpness emphasizes that "The Tizen App Store is open for business", neither APIs nor client applications have been revealed. Nevertheless, developers already are free to open accounts and submit applications for no charge. Even better, sponsors with deep pockets have announced official Tizen developer contests awarding impressive prizes. According to the Tizen Association's planned Tizen App Challenge, "With over $4M in cash prizes, there's never been a better time to create or port that awesome app for Tizen."
Aside from improvements stemming from upcoming events and contests to attract application developers, the store is currently under administration by Samsung, who will likely change legal conditions and add distribution jurisdictions in the coming weeks.
Other relevant yet unanswered technical questions include how the store will implement important validation features like static security analysis, if advanced machine learning will be employed, and just how human analysts will inspect and clear incoming submissions.
Finally, while Tizen supports application side loading (manual installation), a number of third-party distribution services go one step further. Projects like 5Apps, AppUp, NeXva, AppsFuel, HTML5 Ninja and BoosterMedia could prove useful in niche application distribution.
The chances for a successful Tizen smartphone entry depend on Tizen's ability to accommodate today's fast-moving technology trends, vigorous marketing of unique features to tech-thirsty users otherwise accustomed to offerings from the Android iOS duopoly in western markets, and finally, Tizen must fight head to head with upcoming contenders like Firefox OS and Ubuntu Touch to capture a share of less-expensive smartphone use in emerging markets.
While technology analysts are far from united in their opinions, some statements suggest a trend of reduced Android adoption, leaving market share up for grabs. In contrast to its past Android and Bada concentration, Samsung, being strongly positioned in the high-end smartphone handset market, likely will play an important role in corporate-sponsored Tizen developments.
Aside from corporate power, Tizen must mobilize organic growth, such as users migrating from Bada, others smitten by its distinctive technology, developers drawn by its attention to freedom and strong community support. These factors could tip the scales, taking Tizen past the threshold of critical mass and lead to further sales growth and mass adoption.
Tizen Vision: http://www.tizenassociation.org/vision
Tizen Members: http://www.tizenassociation.org/members
About Tizen: http://www.tizen.org/about
"Can Tizen Challenge Android with Huawei Now Onboard?": http://blogs.strategyanalytics.com/WSS/post/2012/02/29/Can-Tizen-challenge-Android-with-Huawei-now-onboard.aspx
"Gartner Says Asia/Pacific Led Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to Growth in First Quarter of 2013": http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2482816
"Android and iOS Combine for 92.3% of All Smartphone Operating System Shipments in the First Quarter While Windows Phone Leapfrogs BlackBerry, According to IDC": http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24108913
"Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by OS for 88 Countries and 14 Operating Systems: 2007 to 2017": http://sa-link.cc/WSS240513
"Samsung offers barely a mention of Android amid Galaxy S4 hoopla": http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237618/Samsung_offers_barely_a_mention_of_Android_amid_Galaxy_S4_hoopla
TDC13—Keynotes: Thursday May 23, 10:45: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ddv_OrbMTyg
Tizen Game Development: http://wiki.tizen.org/wiki/Game_development
Tizen 2.1 Release Notes: http://developer.tizen.org/downloads/sdk/2.1-release-notes
"The Definitive Guide to Developing Portable Tizen Apps": http://mobile.dzone.com/articles/definitive-guide-developing
"The opportunity of HTML5 and TIZEN", Frédéric Dufal: http://cdn.download.tizen.org/misc/media/conference2013/slides/TDC2013-The_Opportunity_of_HTML5_and_Tizen.pdf
Tizen Association Celebrates Progress and Discusses the Future: http://www.tizenassociation.org/tizen-association-celebrates-progress-and-discusses-future
Tizen App Challenge: http://developer.tizen.org/contests/tizen-app-challenge
Michael Schloh von Bennewitz is a computer scientist and expert on network software engineering.
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