Samsung-backed Tizen has officially been announced at the Mobile World Congress. The Tizen 2.0 OS is based on the Linux operating system similar to Android and as pointed out in an earlier report, most of the impetus behind Tizen comes from cellphone carriers, which want a successful counterweight to the clout of Google and Apple.
Sprint is a member of the Tizen Association, but it hasn't said if it has any plans to bring Tizen handsets to the U.S. Other major backers include Intel and Huawei. Other companies on the Tizen Association board of directors are Fujitsu, KT, NEC, Docomo, Orange, Panasonic, SK Telecom and Vodafone.
France-based telecom operator Orange said that it will sell Tizen 2.0 handsets this year, with devices from Samsung and possibly Huawei. Speaking earlier to reporters and industry insiders on the sidelines of the MWC, Yves Maitre, the executive in charge of handsets at Orange, said the carrier expects to launch Tizen phones in France this year and in developing countries next year.
Japan's NTT DoCoMo has already committed to launching Tizen phones and says it wants to be the first. Though pricing details remain blurry as of now CNET reports that executives of Orange and NTT DoCoMo stated that the Tizen phones would witness high end pricing, upwards of $300.
Tizen is likely to compete with other newly launched operating systems like the Firefox OS, as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone and an overhauled BlackBerry operating system.
Two days ago, Samsung officially announced its plans to pull the plug on the Bada OS and merge it with Tizen, which is based on MeeGo and is being supported by Intel and Samsung.
Korean website Yonhap quoted Hong Won-pyo, President of Samsung's Media Solutions Center to also add that the merger will be more like a transition, and that Tizen phones would be able to run Bada apps, while Bada phones would not be upgradable to Tizen.
IDC Analyst Francisco Jeronimo tweeted from the event saying that the first Tizen device will debut in France in August/ September, with Orange and Samsung, followed by other markets in 2014. He also said that 10 engineers are working on Orange's customisation of the Tizen device.
TechCrunch further reports that an Orange spokeswoman confirmed its intention to launch a Tizen device this year, saying: "We are planning to introduce a device in Q3 but not sharing details yet."