What is Tizen OS?

First things first, Tizen OS is an open source (not really!) project backed by Linux Foundation, Intel, Samsung and the Tizen developer community. It aims for devices including mobile phones, tablets, net-books, smart TVs, and basically everything similar to Android – you just need to know how to do it. To know more about what is Tizen OS, keep reading.

what is tizen os

Open Source or Proprietary?

Tizen operating system is claimed to be more open and customizable than Android. Well, we can’t vouch for that until it’s released for general public. It’s not even completely open-source, not with its complex licensing model at least. In a lay-man’s language you can say that it’s part open-source, and part proprietary. A number of components are published under Flora license, which is not open-source.

According to Wikipedia, “Tizen’s SDK is built on top of open-source components, but the entire SDK is licensed under a non-open-source license.”


That being said, it surely has something which Android doesn’t (at least not today) – Control. Control by carriers, handset manufacturers & sellers, to be precise. Android being open-source can be extensively customized by manufacturers, without any restriction – But there’s a catch. They don’t get any support from Open Handset Alliance or even Google. This is not as simple as it seems. That’s the reason why Amazon’s Kindle is the only known device which cannot run Google applications or services. Yes, it’s “extensively customized”.

Tizen, on the other hand provides more flexibility. For example, Vodafone selling a Tizen device can include their services and apps easily. Thus, the carriers & manufacturers will have more intimate relationship with their customers and more control. This is a major reason why Tizen OS is backed by giants including Intel, Vodafone, NTT Docomo, Samsung, and others.

Apps and Development

Of course, it is based on Linux. After Nokia abandoned MeeGo, Intel was left alone with no partner. It was the time when Tizen happened. Although it’s not a continuation of MeeGo project, but it does have a couple of components of MeeGo, including the Linux Kernel. One of the reasons why it’s gaining momentum is HTML5 compatibility. It can run web based HTML5 applications as native apps, and developers can code applications in HTML5 & related web technologies.

html5 score

I’m not a developer, but from what I know, porting apps from other platforms to Tizen is comparatively easy and seamless. That’s great because getting developers to build applications for yet another platform is near impossible in today’s scenario. You can see how Microsoft is still struggling with its Windows Phone apps store.

User Interface

tizen os home screen

settings page

So, you got apps, HTML5 support, and other stuff. But how does it look? As I said, the final version for public isn’t announced yet. Based on the developer version and other sources, all we can say is there’s no surprise as far as UI is concerned. It’s quite similar to Android and iOS. Personally I think, Tizen 2.0 (the latest release till date) needs a lot more work.

It has all the usual stuff we get in any smartphone these days including a standard lock screen, home screen, persistent notification bar, and all that. Though there’s no home screen really, the apps drawer is your home screen (similar to iOS). So, no widgets and show-offs presumably. Also the developer devices experience a few lags quite often, but we can ignore that considering it’s not the final version.

Well, there’s not much to talk about interface at the moment. The application icons are not square, but circular in shape. Though, there’s no major redesign as compared to leading operating systems in market today.

clock app


Tizen 2.0 currently does not offer anything surprising in terms of UI, but it’ll be worth watching how an operating system which is backed by the tech giants and international carriers performs in market. I’m assuming when it’ll be launched in market, we will get a lag-free experience with the basic features we found missing in Tizen 2.0 (pinch-to-zoom for example). What is Tizen OS’s future according to you? Share your views in comments below.

Watch Nixie Pixel’s response to Tizen OS:

Keep in mind, the information and views mentioned above are based on Tizen OS v2.0, which was made available for developer community only. Things may not be the same if you’re reading this after a long period of time.

image source: sammobile