The developers of the Linux-based Tizen operating system for mobile devices have released the source code and software developer kit for Tizen 2.0.
Tizen is an operating system designed for phones, tablets, in-vehicle systems, and other touch-based devices, and it’s designed to run apps written using web technologies including HTML5.
Tizen 2.0 adds new APIs that developers can use to access Bluetooth and NFC function on phones with that hardware, as well as improved developer tools.
While there aren’t any phones or other devices shipping with Tizen yet, word on the street is that Samsung is working on devices that will use the open source operating system.
Samsung is already one of the top makers of phones and tablets, but right now the company’s fortunes are very much tied into Google’s Android ecosystem. While Google releases source code for most versions of Android, allowing Samsung and other companies to put their own special spins on the software before releasing products to the public, the source code is only released at Google’s discretion.
Tizen is more of a community-supported project, and as a major backer, Samsung has more input into the direction the software takes during the development process. In other words, Samsung can exert much more control over the software that runs on its devices if the company ships phones and tablets with Tizen than it can with Android.
That doesn’t mean Samsung is going to dump Android anytime soon. But it’s not surprising that the company is looking to hedge its bets — and if Tizen products are commercially successful we could one day see companies like Samsung move away from Android.
On the other hand, Android already has a built-in fan base of its own at this point, plus a marketplace with over 700,000 apps available for download. It’s tough for any new operating system to compete with that.