September 26, 2013, 2:43 PM — Tizen is for tablets, smartphones and laptops, but the operating system could also be headed to printers, cameras and smart TVs.
Intel and other Tizen backers are exploring the idea of adding "profiles" that would create versions of the open-source OS for products outside tablets, smartphones and cars, said Chris Norman, senior technical marketing engineer at Intel.
Tizen is among a host of mobile operating systems, including Firefox OS, Sailfish and Ubuntu, that are trying to compete with Android and iOS. Intel is backing the development of Tizen along with Samsung, with both contributing code. Samsung, DoCoMo and Orange are expected to offer the first mobile devices based on the OS.
Samsung was not immediately available for comment on its Tizen product plans. Samsung smartphones mostly run on Android or Bada, and the company also offers an Android-based camera.
Norman did not provide a specific time frame for when Tizen would reach TVs, printers and cameras, saying those plans are "forward looking." The immediate focus is to get the OS in the hands of users through smartphones, tablets and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
"We're waiting for Tizen to show up in commercial products," Norman said. "The APIs [application programming interfaces] are set, the bases are in place, we have the foundation for commercial products."
Device makers will have to figure out what products to use the OS in, Norman said. Tizen can be slimmed down and customized for products such as printers and cameras, which typically have less storage and are task-specific, Norman said.
Tizen will also bring a modern Internet interface to devices, with support for HTML5 and other Web technologies, which allows developers to write applications that are portable across devices, Norman said. Users can write an application once and run it on Android or Tizen devices, though usability will depend on screen size and what functions are available in the devices.
Tizen development started in 2011 after the Linux Foundation and the LiMo Foundation merged their MeeGo and LiMo efforts. Development of Tizen is managed by the Linux Foundation, which announced Tizen 2.2 in July. The next version, Tizen 3.0, is due next year, and its features are expected to be discussed at a developer conference to be held in South Korea from Nov. 11-12.