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Tizen mobile OS releases v2.0 code

Android alternative has Samsung's support

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The men and women behind the open source Tizen mobile OS platform have stated an early claim to win developer hearts and minds ahead of Mobile World Congress next week with the official release of Tizen 2.0 source code and SDK.

After a particularly slow start since its launch in by the Linux Foundation in September 2011, the platform received a massive boost when the world’s largest handset maker Samsung confirmed last month that it would launch devices based on the OS.

The Korean electronics giant released a statement saying it plans to “release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the line-up depending on market conditions”.

The latest version, named 'Magnolia', builds on an alpha release pushed out last September and marks a “major milestone”, the Tizen Technical Steering Group said in a blog post.

A full run down of the main features and links to more info and documentation can be found on the blog post linked to above.

However, a quick glance shows that it now supports Bluetooth and NFC thanks to new APIs, as well as calendar, call history and messaging system access.

A new native framework supports background apps, IP push and Text-To-Speech (TTS) while new UI tools will scale Tizen to support devices of varying screen sizes. The blog also claims an enhanced web framework now offers “state-of-the-art” HTML5 support.

Tizen, which was spawned of the offspring of the failed MeeGo project, Nokia’s Maemo, Moblin and others, faces stiff competition in the battle for developer and handset maker patronage.

In the open source stakes alone there is Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux for smartphones, Firefox OS and the MeeGo-derived Sailfish, which are in various states of development.

However, with Samsung having announced last October the merger of its home-grown Bada platform with Tizen, it would seem the latter has its vote at least as a first reserve after Android and Windows Phone.

With over a quarter of the smartphone market, Samsung is not a bad ally to have on your side but it remains to be seen just how big a part Tizen will play in its future plans. ®

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