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Orange says Tizen strategy not ready yet

Smartphones running the Samsung-backed Linux OS will not appear this year, and launch dates are vague

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 11 November, 2013

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Tizen, the Linux-based mobile operating system backed by Samsung and Intel, made an appearance at the former's first developer conference last month, sparking speculation that the Korean firm would soon release smartphones. However, other reports indicate this has been pushed back into the middle of next year, and this is borne out by reports that Orange is also delaying its promised roll-out.

Tizen is an open source OS created from the merger of two mobile Linux platforms - the carrier-driven LiMO, in which Samsung and Vodafone were key partners; and MeeGo, the shortlived child of Nokia's alliance with Intel, before its defection to Windows Phone. MeeGo is itself a combination of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin.


Samsung has been the main supporter of Tizen, as it looks to reduce its reliance on Android and control its own software destiny. The company is investing heavily in improving its software strengths, but its creation of a distinctive user experience on top of Android, driving its own services and revenues rather than Google's, could make Tizen less necessary, at least until a new generation of cloud-oriented Linux mobile OSs starts to take over from the current platforms.

The main operator supporters of Tizen are Orange and NTT Docomo, but while they were initially expected to launch Samsung-made devices this fall, they are now reluctant to offer any timescales, and launches certainly won't be this year. Yves Maitre, head of devices at Orange, told PC Advisor that a 2013 launch no longer made sense as the underlying strategy needed to be clearly worked out.

"We are reassessing our strategy together with the Tizen community on how to go to market and what that means in terms of features, price points and market positioning," he said, citing some lessons learned from the first wave of launches of handsets running Mozilla's Firefox OS, a competing platform to Tizen whose main carrier supporters are Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom. He said there have been performance issues with early Firefox phones, and it is essential to ensure any new platform is at least as functional as entry level Android devices.

Samsung said in a statement to PC Advisor: "Samsung has been actively working on the Tizen ecosystem, together with Tizen Association members and partners. The first Tizen-based smartphone will be released in cooperation with mobile operators and ecosystem partners. Samsung is committed to delivering the best mobile experience based on the open platform and a fully-ready ecosystem around it."

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