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« Whats Happening in Convergence? Grand Convergence Thats What - and boy is it huge | Main | Microsoft fires 12,500 ex-Nokia mobile people, ends X Series running Android, and Elop authors another moronic memo »

July 17, 2014

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Symbolset

Mr Schmidt's name is Eric. Not Steve.

Tizen was born under a weak star. I am not convinced a third ecosystem is needed yet.

TDC123

The OS wars are over.

Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) have won.

To understand this you have to think of the smartphone not as phone first but a computer.

The most important conferences have become WWDC and Google I/O. Where developers are shown the tools of the trade to create software. MWC will be relegated to similar conferences like Computex!

I am not sure but can anyone imagine companies like Nokia, Blackberry having such a conference, even Samsung has tried but not sure how that panned out. It is not just about have an IDE or SDK like QT and giving it out to developers to figure it out themselves. You have to help/give your developers a chance to make a business using your platform. This is probably one area where Nokia really were clueless.

To organise such things, the company must have the software development culture of building platform which is hard, even for a someone like Samsung. I mean they had BADA! where was the developer conference for BADA!

Even Microsoft which has all these components is struggling to the point that they are almost irrelevant.

Consider Jolla as well. They have shipped a product which you could say is similar to Tizen but now even they see that there is no advantage in having your own OS so they are working an Android Launcher. The competition has moved up the stack.

abdul muis

Tomi,

I guess Samsung learned a hard lesson in Android. Andi Rubin, the father of android, first approach samsung, but Samsung laugh at him, and say "you and what army". Google pick up the project and success. I think this is the main reason that Samsung would not look down at EACH new OS. They were affraid, in fact, they were TOO AFRAID that opportunity doesn't knock twice. So, they decide to spread their egg in many basket, and play safe.

abdul muis

@TDC123

I agree, the competition has moved on. In the past, Tomi always bragging that owning an OS is a great differentiator. The era has change, Google has change the mindset of the manufacture and the user.

Vesku

The third ecosystem is already here, and it's called Android Open Source Platform. AOSP is massive in APAC, especially China. In the west it powers Amazon's mobile computing. The main problem with Tizen is that it'll take a mountain of R&D to try to even catch AOSP, let alone pass it on some axis the consumers genuinely care about. Thinking that Samsung can force a new ecosystem on consumers now is even more wrong thank Nokia / Microsoft thinking the same a couple of years ago.

It'll take some massive disruption Android can't cope with for another platform to have a chance.

Woo

The third option is to decide that dominant OS suppliers no longer deliver openness, so choose to depend on web standards. At the moment that seems to be delivered best by apps designed for Firefox OS. I found this article via the Diaspora* web app, running in Firefox on an Ubuntu Unity desktop. I got it from the Firefox Marketplace. I'm not interested in developing apps for Unity as I see that as a Canonical lobster pot, completely undermining the reasons I chose to use Linux.

AndThisWillBeToo

What? Now again we know that operators/carriers do want to have a third ecosystem? It's not that long ago you said you have never said anything like that and it is just fabrication from M$/Nokia. Could you make up your mind?

m][sko

Samsung can't dump Tizen
They need plan B.

and they also need tizen for TV
intel and others need tizen for automotive,..

Tizen is not only about phones!

abdul muis

Satya Nadela about to fired 18,000 microsoft employee. 12,500 is said from Nokia.

ej victor

@TDC123

Not so much android or iOS.... the APK has won the mobile war. I have postulated for 2 years now that the APK is the winner. ECO systems are bull$hit - any vendor can "software as a service" a cloud, an app store, mobile backup, public API etc... The "health" of the ECO = the application stack. All credible new OS's leverage the APK - Sailfish, BB, even talk of Windows Phone ( which no body wants) running APK's. We even have an emulator called Cider in Alpha which will allow iOS apps to run on Android tablets... so the core OS stack will soon be irrelevant.

Tizen's real problem .... the UX is stock Android.

The next battle will be for the "pure" UX that is why Sailfish has a good chance - a novel UX. I just got my first Chinese phone an Oppo Find 7 and the coming from a N9 the android UX is very boring - back to Symbian times. BUT the Color OS extensions, like lock screen gestures are absolutely brilliant.

So by 2015 the game changing phone will be able to run any APK or iOS app and have a gesture based UX.

Pekka Perkeles

Tizen was(/will) be killed by iPhone Mini.

No?

Well, we'll never know. Maybe it died(/dies) just by itself.

And maybe it's time to forget Symbian. But no, no, no. Again and again, Symbian and Elop is here. Haha. :-)

E.Casais

Tomi,

You put forth a number of points that are very debatable and undermine your whole argument.

1) "If Samsung decided over the next two years to shift all of their dumbphone production [...] to Tizen"

How well is Tizen designed to run on low-memory, slow CPU, small display, keypad-operated devices as a phone OS?

2) "Go meet the big carriers. What does Telefonica want? What does Sprint want? What most of all does NTT DoCoMo want."

I personally consider that asking those walled-garden-obsessed operators what they want is a sure path to oblivion for a company like Samsung.

3) "where profits are huge in IT? On the software side."

It is a pitfall to believe that since profits are in software and that terminals are endowed with attractiveness through the availability of a rich apps catalogue, the path to success is via developing and controlling a new software platform.

First, there are two dominant players (Android, iOS), a third one blocking the entry (WP), and several outsiders vying for disruption (Jolla, Firefox) or re-entry (BB10). There is no room to play just the software platform card.

Second, mobile phones are a hardware-software combination; this means one must play both on the hardware and software fronts. This implies de-commoditizing hardware if a new software platform is to succeed. The announced Tizen phones failed to do this.

Look at Samsung's competitors: Nokia leaves other manufacturers well behind thanks to its superior camera and image processing (PureView) technology. Apple has regularly introduced hardware novelties -- high resolution display, 64bits processor, M7 motion co-processor. All these hardware components do enable new applications, and are therefore the necessary basis for software differentiation.

In other words, bringing a new high end slab with a large display, more cores, more RAM, more standard sensors, etc, is totally insufficient. It does not, ever, justify a new OS with the attendant heavy lifting of creating a developpers' community from scratch. What is needed is really novel hardware as well.

I think that Samsung has good cards to play here. After all, its devices already contain loads of sensors -- if Samsung managed to bring completely new, mind-boggling ones (infrared camera, Geiger counter, spectrometer, whatever) and enhance Tizen with APIs to support integrated access to sensors in exciting apps -- then Tizen would be justified.

The fact that Tizen is repeatedly shifted forward means that Samsung management is conscious that there is no justification for Tizen in itself. If Samsung manages to innovate and de-commoditize hardware, then perhaps we shall see a new generation of mobile devices. Otherwise, Tizen will remain forever elusive.

Craig "Virtual Vagina" Oates, Performance Artist

Have you ever considered using some sort of spell-checker? You lost me in the first sentence at "platfoms".

onceamaemodeveloper

Hi, Tomi!

Quite insightful, as usual. I may be able to clarify a bit of the poor handling of Tizen. For the latter part of 2012 I was involved in a project with Samsung. For a long time it looked very promising but by the end of the year their tone suddenly changed. First we were talking with the Tizen guys who were very smart and helpful. Then they were suddenly replaced by the Smart-TV guys who wanted to consolidate all Linux-based things together. An they (how to say it nicely?) didn't feel they needed any outside advice.

Please review any Samsung smart TV to get a reality check of how good they are at software.

So I think you got it right, it's a political power struggle inside the huge company. Money talks and bullshit walks. Android and Smart TV are the best moneymakers and they call the shots. Not to mention that openness and sharing is not exactly in Sammy's genes to start with.

Makes one wonder it those FOSS hippies ever had an even break. By now they are surely dead anyway, as is Tizen. My money is in Firefox for what it is worth.

Asko

I think Samsung has also not-invented-here syndrome with Tizen, and trying to rewriting it, with too many times.

If Samsung really wants to implement its vision to have a new and excellent Linux based mobile OS, Samsung should license it from Jolla where the best MeeGo professionals are currently working.

notzed

Google got most of it's operating system completely for free - it doesn't cost billions to make an operating system if you can re-use the work of others. A new toolkit and yet another virtual machine is hardly grounbreaking billion-dollar efforts.

The most common connection in this seemingly never-ending saga of failed linux-based deviceos seems to be Intel. Given they are nowhere in the mobile space in terms of hardware maybe they are the reason nobody wants it either by association, politics, or technical reasons.

Gonzo

Samsung has a very simple strategy, sell cheap, gain market share and follow up the steps of all speed racers to the bottom. Bleed and keep on bleeding until the become the next …. ( name it )

And Tizen is dead meat already.

eduardom

Regarding the third ecosystem idea, the first two are highly differentiated. The third would either have to duplicate one of the present two but do it better, or come up with something completely different that people really wanted. I don't see how Tizen could do either of these.

winter

@eduardom
"I don't see how Tizen could do either of these."

The internet of things. For such things as smart meters and networked appliances, Android would be overkill.

But maybe Google is working on a stripped down appliace version of Android?

Spawn

@onceamaemodeveloper

> Makes one wonder it those FOSS hippies ever had an even break

Many even. Windows is down to 14% marketshare in computers while Android, Linux and FOSS, won.

Do not look at Lenardware-like temporary hickups but at relevant things that spread and turned into de factos. This:

> it's a political power struggle inside the huge company

applies to FOSS even more. NIH and if-its-not-mine-its-not-FOSS are big in our world. Ignote them and look at this lights that shine through and changed the world :-)

dies felices

I think the third eco-system carriers are looking for is 'Services'.

The any successful new eco system *MUST* be service orientated. Hardware will need to be exciting, the software free but the big businesses want a channel to provide and integrate their services.

chithanh

@Tomi
One big problem is indeed that Samsung sees Tizen as their own property, and tramples on everybody else.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIwMDU

Since Bada was folded into Tizen with the 2.0 SDK (or you could say that Tizen was made an addition to the Bada SDK), it is even more Samsung's OS than anything else.

Carriers don't want or need a Samsung OS.

@E.Casais
> How well is Tizen designed to run on low-memory, slow CPU, small display, keypad-operated devices as a phone OS?

The answer is, not very well. The Tizen sw stack carries along a lot of the Linux desktop bloat, starting with glibc. Distributions which try to cut down on the bloat choose bionic (Android libc), musl (OpenWrt and others) or uclibc.
This is a design choice which is visible in the whole stack on all levels.

Chris

It is quite easy to understand Samsung's troubled Tizen strategy. While consumers have virtually nothing to gain from Tizen Samsung itself has virtually nothing to lose from sticking with the current Android only approach. Well, why does Samsung persist with trying to find a place for Tizen then? I imagine because for a company of the scale of Samsung it must be galling that it hasn't been able to carve out a larger space that leverages it current strength and bonds consumers more tightly to the systems software and services that it provides. I am talking about a store/app store of course and while Samsung has one many people are unaware of its existence or can't be bothered with it.

Tizen is a strategy of binding consumers to Samsung's own app store but it mustn't appear to be that because that would be grandiose and quite uncool in a domain where being cool matters. So, Tizen itself needs to be kind of cool and offer consumers 'something more' than the competitors to attract interest and have any chance of success. Tizen is just another Linux variety and doesn't lend itself especially to standing out from the crowd. Still, Samsung has supported some bright people who have been working on the UI component and it seems to be bearing fruit. That is not much by itself but Samsung has obvious advantages with regards to phone hardware as well and when these advantages are combined there may be a way to give consumers that little bit more and successfully migrate them to Tizen. If such a move is poorly played Samsung will pay big time. It is not hard to understand their tentativeness.

Still, what should be obvious is, despite the nominal openness of the source code, Tizen's relevance to Samsung is more a matter of a corporate strategy to avoid customers switching allegiance to alternative suppliers, as can happen with Android, and to encourage them to avail themselves of profit bearing services provided by Samsung rather than Google. In this regard the Tizen strategy is most comparable to Apple's approach. I can't see the value in what Samsung wants to do with Tizen, but that's me.

Just a last word on the use of the term 'ecosystem' in industry analyses. There is this idea about that if you have an ecosystem you are okay and if things aren't so good then it is for lack of an ecosystem. There is a sleight of hand in all this. Is Microsoft so technically inept that they can't work out the requirements of a software ecosystem? Strange, they have been working at it for years. And what of Mozilla? They are tiny but major Chinese manufacturers ship phones with Firefox OS. Do these have an ecosystem or not? The use of the term ecosystem is mostly nonsensical because what is important is the missing adjective that must attach to that noun. An ecosystem can be richer or poorer, more fertile or sterile, larger or smaller, of greater or more limited scope, flourishing or degenerating. You work out just what you are dealing with by looking at it in action and through careful analysis. Having an ecosystem will not save any company from the effect of poor business decisions or misunderstanding the environment in which they work. We do not need ecosystems in the same sense that we need food or water or phones or email. If researchers or developers can provide a better phone or better services for the phone there is always some possibility that they could find success and cause some realignment of the prevailing ecosystems.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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