Tizen 2.0, the open-source smartphone operating system, is now available as an alpha release with an accompanying software development kit (SDK). The release lends credence to rumors that project member Samsung Electronics is planning to launch a version of its Galaxy S3 smartphone running Tizen instead of Google’s Android.
The release is aimed at developers who can start working with new features and provide feedback in “the final stages” of Tizen’s development,
Tizen is a Linux-based open-source operating system and software platform backed by Samsung, Intel and other vendors. The software is intended for use in devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle infotainment devices, and smart TVs.
The latest code release shows that Tizen is getting closer to a usable product, and comes two weeks after the Wi-Fi Alliance published a document certifying that a Samsung smartphone named the “GT-I9300_TIZEN” had passed Wi-Fi interoperability testing, according to a copy of the document in Google’s cache. GT-i9300 is the model name Samsung gives to Galaxy S3 smartphones, all of which currently run Android, indicating that Samsung might be working on a Galaxy S3 variant that runs Tizen.
Samsung did not immediately comment on its plans for Tizen, and the Wi-Fi Alliance certificate has been modified since its initial publication, now listing the smartphone as the GT-I9300Z).
The Tizen 2.0 alpha release provides developers with the Tizen kernel, device drivers, middleware subsystems, and Web APIs, necessary to develop future Tizen-compliant software, according to the source code release page.
The latest release for instance adds advanced HTML5 features such as video subtitles and captions and a battery status application programming interface, the steering group wrote. A multi-process Webkit2-based Web Runtime was also added to provide better security and reliability for Web applications, the team announced among other improvements.
Analysts expect that Samsung, one of the biggest backers of the project, will release a Tizen based smartphone at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. It is more likely, though, that Samsung will release a Tizen phone in early 2013, said Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC. “Tizen won’t give them huge sales volume,” said Jeronimo, “and Samsung needs to focus on the Galaxy S3 now to compete with the iPhone 5.”