The mobile operating system (OS) world has evolved into a near duopoly, with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android dominating. Smaller OSes, such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the BlackBerry OS, have faded. Indeed, BlackBerry has pretty much moved over to Android.
But the marginal OSes soldier on. There were four pieces of news during the past couple of weeks. The first is not earth shattering: Last month, Softpedia reported that Cerulean Mobile is close to releasing a Windows 10 Mobile device, which will likely have 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage and a 13-megapixel camera.
More importantly, there are reports that Samsung, a big user of Android, is about to introduce a phone that uses the Tizen OS. The OS, according to Digital Trends, was developed by the hardware company for use on its wearables. The internal name of the phone is “Pride,” the first to run Tizen 3.0. Its first release site will be India and it might also be available in parts of Asia. At this point, a U.S. release is not expected.
It may be that Pride, which will be an entry-level device, is some sort of dry run. If Samsung decided to move more aggressively to use Tizen in its phones, the effect on the OS sector – and by extension, the smartphone business -- would be significant.
A third sign of that expansion is the launch of a global Tizen App Development program. Developers, according to Gadget, can submit mobile apps and vie for a $10,000 prize.
The mobile world may get some answers soon. The fourth piece of news is that Tizen 4.0 is on the way. PCWorld suggests that there are a couple of agendas: Keeping its options open and enabling communications between devices:
Most of Samsung's smartphones have Android today, but it is maintaining Tizen, as it doesn't want to put all its eggs in one basket. Samsung is developing technology so its Android mobile devices, Windows PCs and Tizen devices can easily communicate with one another.
The depth of Samsung’s move into the smartphone OS market remains to be seen. The industry went through a period when there was quite a bit of support for a robust third player. The feeling was that a trio of smartphone OSes would be healthier than a duo, from the business and technical perspectives. Now, years after the industry resigned itself to two strong players and a bunch of wannabees, the third player may be arriving.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.