New Open Source Mobile OS: Tizen from Intel-Samsung and Meltemi from Nokia
While Intel rebrands MeeGo as Tizen and will work with Samsung and the Linux Foundation on development, Nokia is rumored to be developing another open-source OS for its low-end handsets, codenamed Meltemi.
Intel announced it has joined the Linux Foundation and the LiMo Foundation in support of Tizen, a new open source project that is the home of the Tizen software platform, a mobile and device operating system based on Linux. Tizen will support multiple device categories, such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices.
The Linux Foundation is expected to host the project, where Tizen development will be completely open and led by a technical steering team composed of Intel and Samsung.
"Tizen builds upon the strengths of both LiMo and MeeGo, and Intel will be working with our MeeGo partners to help them transition to Tizen," Intel said in a press statement. The Linux Foundation said the approach is designed to leverage the robustness and flexibility of HTML5, which is emerging as a more common application environment for mobile applications and has the carrier support of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC).
Why not just evolve MeeGo?
Director of Intel Open Source Technology Center Imad Sousou provides an answer, "We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5", he said and stated that "shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment".
"The Tizen APIs are based on HTML5 and other web standards", said Dawn Foster from the Tizen team, "we anticipate that the vast majority of Tizen application development will be based on these emerging standards. These APIs will cover various platform capabilities, such as messaging, multimedia, camera, network, and social media. For those who use native code in their applications, the Tizen SDK will include a native development kit. We will open the entire Tizen software stack, from the core OS up through the core applications and polished user interfaces", she added.
Nokia Forgets Symbian and MeeGo
MeeGo appeared not be the right choice for Nokia as well, after failing to push it into what it was considered to be the solution for the company's smartphones and after abandoning Symbian.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nokia have finally abandoned its ambitions to develop a high-end operating system, and it is shifting its efforts toward creating an Operating System for its low-end phones.
The project is a Linux-based operating system code-named Meltemi, the Greek word for dry summer winds that blow across the Aegean Sea from the north. It is being led by Mary McDowell, the handset maker's executive vice president in charge of mobile phones.
Bringing low-cost, touch and app enabled handsets to market, it is considered to be a big step to increase Nokia’s "smart phone" share but also providing consumers in poorer countries with devices that are more capable but for reduced costs. The decision will put Meltemi aside of Nokia's partnership with Microsoft to provide Windows Phone for high-end handsets.