New devices (probably smartphones) running the Tizen mobile operating system will be shown on 23 February 2014 at Mobile World Congress, Samsung and Intel revealed on Thursday.
In an email to members of the media, both companies said they would offer “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” at the Mobile World Congress event.
The first Tizen smartphone was supposed to be announced in 2013, but was delayed into the new year. Smartphones weren't named specifically in the invitation on Thursday, but it seems to be a safe bet.
Tizen OS is set to be an alternative to Android, like the Firefox mobile OS revealed by Mozilla earlier this year. Tizen is based on Linux, and has been found within Samsung's NX2000 and NX300 cameras. It's been in development for over a year and a half with several companies contributing, and recently, Samsung merged its homegrown Bada project into Tizen.
The invitation didn't reveal any hints towards the specifications or design of a Tizen handset. “The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice-president of Samsung’s mobile business, told Bloomberg in March.
In November, 36 companies chose to back Tizen, including Panasonic, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Vodafone, eBay, Sharp, McAfee, Sprint, and more.
Industry analysts have seen Tizen as Samsung's way of ditching Google's Android and using an in-house software solution sometime down the road. Samsung said earlier this year it was “committed to delivering the best mobile experience based on the open platform and a fully ready ecosystem around it”.
A version of Tizen was shown running on a Galaxy S4 in September. It boasted a clean UI with a Windows Phone feel to the tile layout. The strong colour variations and notifications gave it a hint of Android crossed with iOS 7.
The first wave of Tizen handsets will run Tizen 2.2.1, but Samsung is also currently working on Tizen 3.0 for Q3 2014, hoping to add multi-user accounts, 64-bit architecture for Intel and ARM chipsets, a new 3D graphics rendering engine and more.
A prototype of Tizen OS for smartphones was shown in 2012.