Samsung Electronics is working to merge its Bada mobile operating system with Tizen, the Linux-based cross-architecture device software platform introduced late last year by the Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation.
Tae-Jin Kang, senior vice president of Samsung's Contents Planning unit, confirmed to Forbes that the effort to integrate Bada and Tizen is already underway, but said he does not know when the process will be complete. Post-integration, Tizen will support existing applications written using the Bada SDK--moving forward, Samsung will offer Bada and Tizen developers the same SDKs and APIs.
Kang adds that Samsung probably will deploy Bada across lower-end devices while favoring Tizen on higher-end products that don't run Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android or Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone. He also stated the manufacturer likely will introduce "at least one or two" Tizen devices this year but that "Tizen will not become Samsung's main operating platform anytime soon."
Samsung introduced Bada in late 2009, targeting Europe and emerging markets. The manufacturer has not yet introduced a Bada device for the U.S. market. Last fall, The Wall Street Journal reported Samsung planned to open Bada to other manufacturers and software developers, a move to accelerate growth of the smartphone platform while also distancing the company from its reliance on Android. Samsung is presently the world's largest Android vendor.
Samsung's future plans and continued commitment to Android have been the subject of speculation for months, especially in the wake of Google's agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) for roughly $12.5 billion. Google has promised Android will remain open, but analysts speculate that manufacturers building Android devices may not enjoy the same technological support and access given to Motorola once the company is absorbed into the Google family. There's also the question of whether Samsung wants to continue mortgaging its future on Android when the platform is the target of multiple patent rights lawsuits.
Targeting multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems, Tizen combines open-source technologies with a standards-based HTML5 and Wholesale Applications Community web development environment, enabling the creation of device-independent, cross-platform mobile applications. The Linux Foundation will host the Tizen platform--the initial release is slated for the first quarter of 2012, with the first Tizen-powered devices expected to arrive by mid-year. Samsung and Intel head the technical steering committee developing Tizen; Intel effectively killed off its MeeGo OS effort to focus its energies on Tizen.
- read this Forbes article
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