Samsung officially announced a new operating system that will rival Android at the ongoing Mobile World Congress. The new OS, named Tizen, will also compete against iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10, Firefox OS and Ubuntu Mobile.
Tizen phones will look and work much like Android phones, except that the familiar square app icons are round. Samsung previously announced it will dump its homemade Bada platform, which had a negligible share in the smartphone market, in favour of the new OS. The new mobile operating system will be able to run apps made for Bada, but it will not be the same the other way around.
Most of the impetus behind Tizen comes from cellphone carriers, which want a successful counterweight to the clout of Google and Apple. Samsung has become the world's largest maker of smartphones in large part through its embrace of Android. Yves Maitre, the executive in charge of handsets at Orange, France Telecom's wireless arm, said the carrier expects to launch Tizen phones in France this year and in developing countries next year. As an 'open' project, the software is freely available to customise, giving phone carriers control over how the software works on the phones they sell.
Sprint Nextel is a member of the Tizen Association, but it hasn't said if it has any plans to bring Tizen handsets to the US. Other major backers include Intel and Huawei Technologies, China's largest phone maker.
It was recently reported that Google is growing concerned of Samsung using its dominant position in the Android ecosystem to renegotiate the deal between the two companies. Samsung announces Android rival Tizen at MWC - The Times of India