Tizen, Ubuntu and Firefox Reveal New Mobile OS

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest seller of mobile phones, said it will start selling smartphones this year featuring the Tizen operating system, backed by Intel.

“We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions,” South Korea-based Samsung said in an e- mailed statement today, reports Bloomberg. The company didn’t elaborate on model specifications, prices or timeframe for their debut.

Samsung is looking to reduce its reliance on Google’s Android operating system after the Internet search company acquired handset maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in May. Executives from Intel, Samsung, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone formed the Tizen Association last year to support the open-source software.

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Dec. 31 that Samsung will release a Tizen-based smartphone through wireless carrier NTT Docomo later this year.

Google, operator of the world’s most-popular search engine, plans to devote more attention to mobile devices as its rivalry with Apple accelerates.

Samsung is the biggest seller of devices running Android in the $219 billion global smartphone market. Samsung reported record profit in the three months ended Sept. 30 amid surging sales of its Galaxy smartphone. More than two-thirds of the earnings were generated by the telecommunications business, according to the company.

Samsung shipped 56.9 million smartphones in the third quarter, giving it a record 35 percent market share, compared with 17 percent for Apple, researcher Strategy Analytics said in October. In total handset sales, including basic types, Samsung remained the top seller, researcher IDC said separately.

The LiMo Foundation and Linux Foundation said in September 2011 they would jointly develop Tizen for use in devices including mobile phones and TVs.

Meanwhile, Ubuntu and Firefox hope to grab to grab a piece of the pie.

Ubuntu introduced their own Ubuntu phone, although it isn’t expected until the tail end of 2013, with a realistic retail launch date in early 2014.

Ubuntu Mobile is designed to play nice with hardware of all stripes, says TechCrunch (it supports x86 processors in addition to more common ARM chips, and doesn’t lean on a Java Virtual Machine), but there hasn’t been any word yet on device partnerships.

The Mozilla Foundation is targeting Firefox OS mainly at emerging markets. In partnership with Spain-based telecom Telefónica, they will launch the first round of Firefox OS devices in Brazil in 2013.

In the U.S., Sprint has pledged to support Firefox OS, but it’s not clear when (or if) a Firefox OS device would be available in the U.S.

Alcatel One Touch and ZTE, have been tapped as the first companies to make Firefox OS devices using Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm

The unique aspect of Firefox OS is it relies entirely on Web-based technologies such as HTML 5 and JavaScript for all of its software applications .

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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