Tizen OS camp to show newest' devices at Mobile World Congress

Samsung is under pressure to show commercial smartphones if it wants Tizen to become a success, according to an analyst

Devices running the Tizen operating system will be shown Feb. 23 in Barcelona, the day before Mobile World Congress opens there.

Backers of the open source Tizen, which includes Samsung Electronics and Intel, sent out invitations by email Wednesday for the February event. The invitation does not say what types of devices will be shown, promising "an exclusive sneak preview of the newest Tizen devices as well as an opportunity to learn about the major milestones that the Tizen project has hit since last year's event."

The first smartphones based on the Firefox OS and the Sailfish OS, which is developed by Finnish company Jolla, came out this year. The first Tizen smartphone was also supposed to be released, but has been delayed until next year, putting pressure on OS backers, especially Samsung, to show that Tizen remains a contender.

"It's pretty simple. At Mobile World Congress it has to show commercial devices," said Geoff Blaber, vice president research, Americas, at CCS Insight.

Blaber, along with other analysts and industry people, attended a Tizen event at this year's Mobile World Congress 10 months ago. Operators Orange and DoCoMo, backed by Samsung, said they would put the first smartphones on sale during the second half of the year. At the event, unspecified hardware from Samsung running version 2.0 of Tizen was demonstrated, but the OS was far from mature.

Getting the OS to a point where it was competitive proved to be more challenging than expected. In November, Orange said that it was reassessing its strategy together with the Tizen community regarding how to go to market and what that means in terms of features, price points and market positioning. Samsung said it was "committed to delivering the best mobile experience based on the open platform and a fully ready ecosystem around it."

The latter comment highlights a challenge that any new smartphone OS has to face. It is difficult get the attention of developers before devices are on sale, but it is also hard to sell smartphones without all the most popular apps in place, according to Blaber.

The Tizen project was born more than two years ago, when the Linux Foundation and Limo Foundation rebooted their efforts to compete with Apple and the Android camp by merging MeeGo and Limo.

Mobile World Congress will be Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

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