Tizen 2.0 shown off on Samsung reference device at MWC 2013Alex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Last week we saw the release of the Tizen 2.0 software development kit and source code, and along with that came some screenshots that gave us a peek at how the operating system looks. Thankfully we're getting another, extended look at Tizen 2.0 today, as Engadget and CNET got the chance to preview the OS running on a Samsung reference device (that looks more than a bit like a Galaxy S III in a case) earlier today at Mobile World Congress 2013. The Tizen 2.0 lock screen displays the usual lock screen-y information such as time, date and weather. Users can bypass the lock screen and jump into the OS itself by sliding their finger from left to right at the bottom of the display, which is of the 720p variety.
After unlocking the unit, we're presented with a home screen that's got status bar with the time and battery life up top and then a grid of app icons below. Tizen 2.0 can run apps that are native, HTML5-based or a mixture of the two, and the Tizen Association tells CNET that there are thousands of apps already developed and ready to go. Swiping down from the top will bring down the display and present users with a notification area in which they can also control the screen brightness and access the Settings menu. Finally, clicking and holding on the physical home button (it is a Samsung-made unit, after all) will bring up a task switcher.
So when might we see Tizen in the hands of regular folks like you and I? Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo says that it'll be the first carrier to offer a Tizen smartphone, but there's no word yet on exactly when it'll launch or what it'll be. France Telecom-Orange is also on board, with plans to offer Tizen products from Huawei and Samsung later this year. There hasn't been a lot of talk about a U.S. debut for Tizen quite yet, but it's worth noting that Sprint joined the Tizen Association last year and one of its executives joined Tizen's board of directors at the same time, so it's not crazy to think that Tizen could make an appearance on the Now Network at some point.
After getting a look at Tizen 2.0 in action on this developer device, it definitely looks like the OS is coming along nicely. It seems to have most of the trappings of a modern OS, like a slide-to-unlock lock scree, multitasking menu and notification shade, but there are some small parts of those features that are a bit different than what we're used to seeing. For example, the green battery indicator below the time at the top of the screen and the fact that the action of swiping down to access the notification area actually pulls the home screen down to the bottom of the display rather than pulling the notification shade down over the top of the home screen.
The mobile industry is definitely becoming a bit more crowded as of late with all of the new OSes that are coming soon, including Tizen, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu and Firefox OS. It's not known which of those platforms will take off and which will fizzle out, but with heavy backing from Intel and Samsung as well as support from several other companies, Tizen's certainly got a shot at gaining some traction. After watching Tizen 2.0 in action on Samsung's reference hardware, what are your thoughts on the OS?