Recently news leaked about another delay in the release of Tizen, the open source system created by Samsung and Intel. In particular the delay was over the Galaxy Z which would be the first mobile device (other than the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo watches). Samsung is said to have delayed the Z to work on further refining Tizen, but the delays have more and more people saying dead OS walking.
I think tech writer Mary Branscombe said it best when she said Tizen might be cursed. The code on which the operating system is built has a certain amount of bad juju around it. It is a Linux based OS made up Intel (Moblin), Nokia (Maemo), Intel/Nokia (MeeGo), and Samsung (Bada). In its first incarnation it was used by Intel to push mobile phones, tablets, and Netbooks. This was when Intel was pushing Intel App Up as a way to get x86 specific apps. Then Intel hooked up with Nokia to create MeeGo. Of this union one phone was created, the N9, which was stillborn. Then came the announcement of Tizen. It was backed by Samsung and other than watches and prototype devices, there’s been little noise.
People like to complain about Blackberry or Microsoft’s struggles in keeping a foot in mobile. Then there are those who want to rewrite mobile history and say that everything was fine until (insert person) changed (insert company/platform) for the worse. Then there is the dreamers and idealists who think true, open Linux, or HTML5 is the answer.
Mobile is growing rapidly and it has changed the face of computing. But its also changed computing in different ways. A phone is a more locked down device than a PC. Mobile is also more dependent on applications than a laptop or desktop. Its a market where the OS is more important. The PC market and especially the rise of Windows PCs made it easier for Linux adoption.
In the mobile world Linux is something trotted out at a small event during Mobile World Congress. Some chip vendor or OEM will remark on the need for a true open source option and the Linux Foundation will launch a new initiative. Afterwards you may see a prototype, meanwhile the same company will show an Android device they will actually ship,
Software and Hardware is hard, but doable. Building an ecosystem and maintaining it is madness. That’s why there are few companies that do it or can do it. Tizen is just another example of how hard it can be.