Before Stephen Elop arrived, Nokia had done a lot of work with Intel on a promising mobile operating system called MeeGo. You probably won’t have seen it as Nokia has deliberately only sold the Nokia N9 that runs it in markets were it wouldn’t have cannibalised sales of their Lumia range.
After Nokia walked away from MeeGo some of the elements went into a related project called Tizen run by Samsung and Intel. Early developer versions of the operating system running on a reference platform are now out and look like a competent if not outstanding looking system since it lacks the polished user experience of the iPhone or the stylish features (notably the keyboard) of BlackBerry 10.
As the largest maker of Android phones this was a curious move for Samsung, but it allows the company latitude to operate without Google and the ancillary problems that brings: Google and Oracle’s lawsuit over software APIs, the fact that Google is marginalised in the world’s largest handset market (China) and Microsoft’s licence fees for technology patents that Android apparently violates.
One of the most interesting aspects of the platform for marketers is that applications can be developed in HTML5, which should /could reduce development costs as this work could be an adjunct to building modern interactive web experiences. The key question I have is whether Samsung and Intel can make this development model work. HTML5 applications contributed to the poor performance of Palm’s WebOS, though it didn’t help that the hardware was also less than ideal in terms of performance.
Tizen is one to watch over the next few years as it could be a relatively cost effective platform to develop for backed by the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer.
Archived from my former blog at PR Week.