Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows Phone 8, and Google’s Android will have lots of competition this year from BlackBerry 10, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and Samsung’s Tizen mobile operating systems. The one that could have the most impact is Tizen since it has one of the world’s largest mobile hardware manufacturers behind it. So far though, it has gotten mixed reviews.
Samsung previewed the latest version of the open source operating system Tizen 2.0 on a Samsung prototype at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The reviews from techies have been mixed to say the least. Regardless of whether you agree with any of the reviews, the operating system will probably actually make it onto several handsets for sale in the near future. That’s because several carriers, NTT DoCoMo, Sprint, Orange, Vodaphone, SK telecom and KT (Korean Telecom), have been working with Samsung on the operating system.
Lee Mathews at Geek.com thinks that Tizen could give Android some stiff competition. He likes the HTML5 support. During the demonstration, Samsung was able to show off popular game titles that worked well on the device. The fact that Samsung holds such a large share of the mobile market means that this new operating system actually has a chance of making a dent in the market especially since it looks as if many of the most popular apps will be ready for it by its debut.
David Pierce at The Verge gave it a mixed review. He called Tizen “three parts Android, one part WebOS”. Samsung’s operating system has lifted several elements of the Android experience to Tizen. For instance it has a sliding lock screen, pull-down windowshade, settings menu and a grid of icons just like you would find on Samsung’s own Galaxy line of Android smartphones and tablets. According to Pierce, that’s a good thing. Why mess with an interface that works? On the other hand, the demo of the operating system showed it to be slow and buggy which are not want anyone wants to see on a mobile phone or tablet.
Rich Tenholm at CNET disliked it intensely. As far as he was concerned, Tizen was “laggy, malformed software with no unified design aesthetic.” In other words the operating system is certainly not ready for prime time and not anywhere close to being a threat to Google’s Android. His pick for an operating system that could rival the big three was Ubuntu’s Touch operating system.
For the rest of us, we won’t get a chance to see it in action until later this year when handsets actually start hitting the market. While it sounds as if it will launch with many familiar apps and should be easy to use, the question has to be asked, why yet another operating system? Another important question is why do we need an operating system that is basically an Android knock off?