The Tizen project unveiled Wednesday to develop a new, open-source mobile platform based on Linux could gain traction with overseas wireless carriers who fear becoming dependent on platforms tied to American companies.
The goal of the new Tizen project undertaken by Intel, the Linux Foundation and the Limo Foundation is to deliver a viable mobile-platform alternative to Apple's iOS and Google's Android, which dominate the global smartphone and tablet markets.
Wireless carriers in Europe and Asia have been saying privately they believe it is unhealthy for them to depend nearly exclusively on just two mobile platforms -- or even three, including Microsoft 's new Windows Phone refresh, said IDC Research Manager Francisco Jeronimo. This gives Tizen a potential growth opportunity overseas "because otherwise the U.S. will rule the entire phone industry," he said.
"With Android, iOS and even Windows Phone becoming the biggest platforms, European operators will be totally dependent on American companies," Jeronimo said in an email Thursday. "That's what they are afraid of."
According to Jeronimo, Android device makers are wary of a rising tide of patent-infringement lawsuits launched against Android. And they also are wary of Google's long-term intentions with respect to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this year.
"The recent acquisition of Motorola by Google changed the game [by] alienating most of the major Android players," Jeronimo said. "Phone makers don't see Google exclusively as a partner anymore, but [also] as a competitor."
A Long-Term Strategy
At first blush, Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7.5, also known as Mango, would seem to provide handset vendors and wireless carriers with an alternative to iOS and Android. "But it is not enough to compete with Android and Google, as it is still a closed platform," Jeronimo said.
The initial release of Tizen and its first SDK is expected to reach developers in the first quarter of 2012, which would enable the first devices to potentially reach the market as soon as the middle of next year. However, it is too soon to know whether the new open-source platform would be widely adopted by consumers.
"Tizen is seen as a long-term strategy," Jeronimo said. "Whether or not it will succeed -- that's a different story." (continued...)