Tizen Rises from MeeGo's Ashes

On September 27, the LiMo Foundation and the Linux Foundation announced a new mobile development platform project, which they dubbed Tizen. Tizen is designed to emphasize development of HTML5-based mobile phone for “smart phone, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment systems.” The initial release is planned for the first quarter of 2012, with first-generation devices targeted for sometime in the middle of 2012.

Although the press releases emphasized the birth of a brand new project, most experts also recognized this as the demise of the once-promising MeeGo project, another Linux Foundation venture that once had the support of industry giants Nokia and Intel. When Nokia pulled the plug on MeeGo, watchers wondered if Intel was soon to do the same. In a clearly coordinated response, Intel quickly announced its support for Tizen, leaving no doubt about the fate of MeeGo. According to Intel, “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.”

The initial flurry of press releases did not elaborate on the reasons for stopping one mobile platform just to start another. The focus on HTML5-based development reflects an evolutionary step that perhaps wasn't foreseen at the time of the planning and design for MeeGo. Also, the complications of merging Intel and Nokia technology in MeeGo led to a complexity that the developers were never really able to manage. Much of the core MeeGo code will make its way into Tizen, causing some to speculate that the transition is (at least in part) an exercise in re-branding; however, changing times, the HTML5 emphasis, and fewer competing interests will undoubtedly take the Tizen project in new directions where MeeGo couldn't go.

According to Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin, “While MeeGo will remain a project at the Linux Foundation, we see industry leaders lining up behind Tizen.”

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