Operating Systems

Samsung finds "Superman" for Tizen?

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The Wall Street Journal reports Samsung has a "Superman" to help it push the nascent Tizen platform-- Li Ka-shing, owner of the Hutschison Whampoa business empire and reportedly the richest man in Asia.

Li Ka-shingLi has fingers in multiple pies, including telecommunications, ports and hotels. He also has an interest in high-profile tech, with investments in Facebook, Spotify, Waze and Summly.

“I enjoy keeping up with latest technology trends," Li tells the Chinese Nanfang Media Group. "I can also tell you that in addition to  (Apple’s) iOS and Android,  a new mobile operating system will come to the market soon.”

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The First Tizen Device: A Smart Camera

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Samsung reveals the first consumer device running on Tizen, the open source Linux-based mobile device OS, at the Tizen Developer Summit-- not a smartphone or a tablet but a camera, specifically NX300M smart camera.

Samsung MX300The NX300M is a refresh of the Android-powered NX300 mirrorless camera. It features a 3.31-inch AMOLED rotatable touchscreen, 20.3MP APS-C sensor, dual-channel wifi and NFC support.

Technically the camera is not the first Tizen device available. That particular honour belongs to a developer-aimed 10.1-inch tablet from Japanese vendor Systena.

If you recall, Tizen is a standards-based cross-architecture software platform built on the bones of MeeGo, a now-dead Nokia-Intel Linux-based mobile device OS. The project was first announced on 2011 and devices running on the OS were supposed to be available by H2 2012-- but work hit a number of snags as chief backer Samsung bits on too many Tizen-related projects, including a Mobile Lite and smart TV versions, than it can apparently chew.

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Android Inventor Steps Down

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Following a shake up in Google leadership Android creator and former senior VP of mobile and content Andy Rubin steps down to a new, yet unspecified, role within the company.

RubinReplacing him is Sundar Pichai, the senior VP in charge of the Chrome browser and OS. Interestingly Pichai will continue leading all things Chrome even as he takes over Android-- maybe Google will converge mobile and PC operating systems in the future?

“Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android-— and with a really strong leadership team in place-— Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google,” Google CEO Larry Page writes in his announcement. “Andy, more moonshots please!”

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Operators Support Firefox OS

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Mozilla shows off the first commercial build of Firefox OS at MWC 2013 as 17 international carriers (including Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia) pledge support for the smartphone OS contender.

Firefox OSThe OS also has manufacturer support-- Alcatel, LGE and ZTE will launch the "first wave" of Firefox OS devices in a number of developing and emerging markets (including Spain, Hungary, Poland, Montegro and Serbia) from H2 2013, followed by offerings from China's Huawei.

Based on open web standards, Firefox OS promises an end to the "walled gardens" of iOS, Windows Phone or (to an extent) Android. It turns smartphones into what essentially is a browser, with each feature turned into an HTML5-based app.

“Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere,” Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs says. “With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next 2 billion people online.”

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LG Buys webOS for TV Use?

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The saga of Palm's webOS mobile operating system gets an unlikely new chapter-- the ill-fated OS now belongs LG, where it will find use not in tablets or smartphones, but in smart TVs.

LGThe news comes ahead of a supposed MWC 2013 announcement via CNET.

If the story is true, LG now owns the webOS source code, documentation and related websites, as well as licenses and patents Palm had transfered to HP following its 2010 acquisition.

What remains of the webOS team will also find employment in the LG Silicon Valley Lab.

CNET mentions 2 reasons why LG will employ webOS in smart TVs-- the company is committed to Android as mobile OS, while most of the webOS team working on mobile devices at HP has already left for (hopefully) greener pastures.

We will have more detail once an official announcement surfaces at MWC 2013, Barcelona.

Go webOS Lives! LG to Resurrect it for Smart TVs (CNET)