Against the backdrop of a difficult relationship Huawei and American companies, I talk about mobile operating systems that have not yet gained a foothold in the market. There is already an analysis of almost all projects –
Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish OS, Firefox OS, webOS, LiMo, MeeGo and Bada. It's time to review history Tizen.
Three in one
Tizen has a big backstory, which I told in parts in previous materials. This operating system appeared at the junction of the closure of three projects developing in parallel – LiMo, MeeGo and Bada.
After Nokia ditched MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone ,. Intel did not develop the project on its own Around this time, Samsung bet on Android and abandoned the Bada system, on which it spent a lot of money and marketing forces.
This simple diagram shows how Tizen
At the same time as MeeGo and Bada closed down, the Linux Foundation, which was working on the LiMo project, announced a new project based on open source and core Linux – Tizen. It happened on September 27, 2011. The new project combines the developments of LiMo and MeeGo, the latter in turn derived from the Maemo and Moblin platforms. It turns out to be a complicated cycle Linux in smartphones.
Tizen was conceived as a cross-platform operating system for smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs and other devices like on-board systems of cars. The platform was based on HTML5 as a simple and promising language for developing applications that can be easily adapted to different devices.
Samsung and Intel became the project manager for Tizen. The first company promised to release the first devices with the new operating system, and the second provided a ready-made application development environment and a development team. All members of the LiMo Foundation joined the development of the system: Panasonic, NEC, Vodafone and other companies.
After the announcement Tizen there was no news about the project for a long time. In January 2012, news came from Forbes that Samsung was planning to merge Bada with a new project Tizen. The company wanted to make the same or at least a similar API so that Bada developers could port their applications and continue development on the new platform. But at that time Samsung had not yet decided what to do with Bada – to close it or leave it for low-power phones.
In February 2012, at the MWC in Barcelona, it was announced that Huawei would join the project Tizen to produce smartphones there. At the same time, the system's source code and SDK were released for developers.
In May, the first working version of the system Tizen 1.0 appeared as an assembly for Samsung smartphones on Android. There was nothing interesting or unusual in it for mobile operating systems, it looked like another shell Android. But this release was intended primarily for developers to get familiar with the new system and test their applications. Before launch Tizen on work devices it was far away.
But in the same month it became known that Tizen will be able to run Android – applications using an ACL layer from a third-party company OpenMobile. The same developers helped add support for Android – applications to the tablet BlackBerry on PlayBook OS 2.0.
After that, all the news about Tizen died down again. In January 2013 alone, Samsung promised to release the first smartphones to Tizen within a year.
Journalists greeted Tizen cool – this is not the first mobile Linux – open source system. It is enough to look at the background of this project in the form of MeeGo, LiMo and older predecessors. Moreover, there was no interesting idea or expensive marketing campaign behind Tizen. Unless Samsung held competitions among developers with big cash prizes.
At MWC 2013, the company announced the final Tizen 2.0, codenamed Magnolia. Although it would be correct to call all previous versions beta or alpha, and designate this release as 1.0. Because only in this update were added basic things, such as support for native applications and a full set of pre-installed standard programs.
Photo by Cnet
True, at that time Tizen 2.0 still worked terribly, buggy and slowed down. So she had nothing to attract attention.
And it's important to consider the context. In early 2013, Canonical announced the Ubuntu Touch mobile system. This is also a raw product, but with an unusual interface and interesting solutions, like a side menu for quickly launching selected applications. Tizen didn't have that either.
In February 2013, Samsung confirmed the merger of two projects – Bada and Tizen. While it cannot be called a merger right now, it looks more like the official shutdown of the Bada system. The company promised that all applications from the old system are compatible with the new one Tizen, but the reality was a little more complicated. The SDK Tizen was based on the old development environment for Bada, and in general, the code of the new system uses many components from the old one. But the developer must take the time to port the application. You cannot transfer it to the store Tizen. And there were few good third-party apps for Samsung Wave smartphones, so the 'merge' was of little use.
A little later in May, Tizen 3.0 was announced, the main feature of the new release is support for laptops. The system was based on the well-known interface for Linux Gnome 3. In fact, this is another distribution kit Linux for computers. The announcement took place within the framework of the first conference Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco. The project leaders invited developers from all over the world to introduce them to the new system. But even at such a major event, companies were not ready to present the first product at Tizen.
Intel made a big bet on Tizen for computers. The company still believed in the Atom series of processors, so for low-cost, low-power laptops, it had to create a simple operating system so as not to pay a license fee Windows. But it has already become clear that Tizen, like the previous Moblin, cannot compete with the system Microsoft. These are products of different levels.
The first device with pre-installed Tizen OS was a tablet from the Japanese company Systena. It was intended for developers and only sold in Japan. Then Tizen appeared in the Samsung NX300 camera – the system did not give any advantages. Only Samsung itself said that a camera with Tizen starts faster than competitors.
Another Tizen was installed in a Samsung refrigerator with Wi-Fi and a small color display – it showed the weather, time and other information.
In November Intel and Samsung announced new members Tizen Association – eBay, Konami, McAfee and other companies became partners. In total, there were 36 manufacturers, developers and telecom operators in the association. At the same time, they showed a light version of the system Tizen Mobile Light for cheap smartphones.
From the leaks it was known that Samsung was developing two smartphones on Tizen – Samsung GT-I8800 and GT-I8805. But their release was constantly postponed, and then the project was closed. From that moment on, a change in strategy began, because Samsung understood that at the moment Tizen could not even be close to becoming a competitor Android or iOS.
In addition, Intel gradually began to move away from the project, the system Tizen became associated exclusively with Samsung. Not only did I lose faith in the project Intel. Director of Huawei Consumers Business Richard Yu said bluntly that 'Tizen has no chance of success.' The Chinese company was worried that they had no alternative Android, and Tizen could not help with this. But back then, their relationship with Google was still good.
Despite the promises to introduce smartphones to Tizen in 2013, the first appeared only in the summer of 2014 – Samsung Z. Journalists greeted the first smartphone with Tizen coldly – the smartphone did not stand out, and the system looked similar to Android with the TouchWiz shell, but without most of the required third-party applications.
Samsung Z is the first smartphone on Tizen
And around the same time, the Samsung Galaxy Gear 'smart' watch, running on a modified Android (not Android Wear), was upgraded to Tizen with an update. It seems that it was easier to adapt your own operating room to the watch screen than to pervert with a smartphone Android, which is not intended for this.
Later in August, the new Gear S watch with a curved display came out – it was originally running on Tizen. And in the future, all Samsung watches worked at Tizen.
It is important to understand that Tizen changed depending on the device – the system in a watch, smartphone, camera or laptop looked and worked differently. For the user, these are different operating systems that are not related to each other.
In the summer of 2014, against the backdrop of sanctions against Russia, State Duma Deputy Vladimir Gutenev began to promote the idea of refusing civil servants from smartphones that have not been certified and tested for protection against wiretapping and data leakage. True, the bill stalled at the stage of filing documents. It is curious that in 2019, Gutenev, along with other deputies, proposed to ban the sale of smartphones and other devices without Russian software pre-installed. This story, too, has not developed anywhere yet.
At this time, Samsung decided to obtain a FSTEC certificate for Tizen in Russia. The company planned to launch Samsung Z on the Russian market in September 2014, but the presentation was postponed indefinitely. The sales never started.
Samsung Z1 appeared only a year later in India and Bangladesh. It was marketed as a budget smartphone with a basic set of features and an app store. For many, one WhatsApp was enough.
The next smartphone on Tizen appeared in 2015 – Samsung Z3 , model number two was missed for some reason. By this time, the company no longer considered Tizen as an alternative to Android. Therefore, the new smartphone was positioned not as a mass product, but as a product for the B2B segment. They wanted to sell it to corporate clients and government officials, not to the average consumer.
This would help Samsung find at least some application Tizen, and Russia received a new operating system that can be used as part of import substitution. The abandonment of Android, iOS, Windows and other American systems was much talked about after 2014.
The state considered two options – Tizen and Sailfish. As we know, the second system won this race. Although, of course, this cannot be called a victory. The idea of a Russian operating system has never materialized. Even after 5 years.
Other new items
In 2015, Samsung released a whole line of smart TVs based on Tizen. Again, this system had little to do with Tizen for smartphones or smartwatches. For the most part, it resembled webOS on TVs LG.
First version Tizen on TVs / Cnet photo
It's funny and at the same time strange that the Samsung Z2 smartphone appeared only in 2016, a year after the Z3 was announced. True, by this moment everyone had forgotten about Tizen, no one saw the potential and alternative in it Android. Smartphones with Tizen were still only sold in India, Russia and a few other countries as ultra-budget enterprise devices.
One of the main buyers of Samsung smartphones at Tizen was Gazprom. Samsung Electronics President Sang Jin Park said in an interview with TASS that the gas company appreciated Tizen for a high level of safety. True, Russian smartphones Samsung Z3 worked on a modified Tizen, which was reassembled at Skolkovo. What exactly changed is not known – 'the level of protection was completely removed and redone'.
Later it turns out that building your own Tizen wasn't such a bad idea.
Like a sieve
Tizen was an unpopular system, so no one wasted time checking its security, even though these smartphones were sold for corporate purposes. In April 2017, cyber security researcher Amihai Neiderman published a big report after examining Tizen – he found 40 zero-day vulnerabilities and called it 'possibly the worst code ever seen.'
The study says that each of these vulnerabilities allows hackers to remotely access a smartphone or other device at Tizen. One of these vulnerabilities allows you to download any malicious application to your Samsung TV.
After this publication, Samsung did not deny the problem and contacted Neiderman to eliminate all vulnerabilities.
Despite the problems Tizen in smartphones, the system felt confident in Samsung watches – they surpassed all models on Android Wear in popularity. True, the leader in this market was and remains Apple.
In May 2017, as part of the annual conference Tizen Developers Conference for developers, announced Tizen 4.0, which is focused on IoT devices and the smart home. For the demonstration, Samsung has unveiled a ready-made ARTIK053 chip module for creating IoT devices.
At the same time, the conference showed the new Samsung Z4 – this is another budget smartphone with Tizen 3.0 at a price of about $ 100. We will not dwell on it.
Interactive whiteboard at Tizen
In early 2018, Samsung introduced the Flip, a large touchscreen interactive whiteboard for presentations, meetings and video conferencing. Obviously, the idea was spied on the boards Microsoft Surface Hub. So you can skip this announcement too.
In the summer of 2018, well-known insider Evan Blass created a buzz on the Internet – he saw several Samsung employees who had a Gear watch on Wear OS (formerly Android Wear). Media and bloggers began to discuss that Samsung was abandoning its own system Tizen, but then Evan Blass himself denied this.
Unfortunately, this is the most interesting thing that happened to Tizen for the whole year.
What is the result
Tizen has become a fallback for Samsung if any problems start with Android. Huawei, for example, did not have such an alternative either – according to rumors, its Harmony OS or Hongmeng is still too raw to work on smartphones. Therefore, the Chinese company has to release the flagship Mate 30 on Android without Google services.
Samsung is gradually releasing updates Tizen, but it is clear that they do not want to spend a lot of time and money on it. The system is developing much more actively in smart watches and TVs, so things are not so bad.
From the whole cycle of stories of alternative operating systems Tizen looks like the most successful project. It can only be compared with webOS, but its fate is much more complicated.