updated 03:54 pm EST, Mon February 18, 2013
First devices not expected until later this year
The Linux Foundation has introduced a major update to its Tizen operating system, adding many essential features as developers continue working on the first Tizen-powered devices. Version 2.0, spotted by TG Daily, will enable devices to take advantage of Bluetooth and NFC hardware, while app developers can integrate new features such as text-to-speech and background operation.
The release further improves HTML5 API support, while adding fullscreen and multi-window capabilities to the web UI framework. Developers can also access a full set of core applications, including a dialer, calendar, media gallery, settings panel and video player.
In a market dominated by Android and iOS, and with competition from Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms, Tizen is one of several mobile operating systems that aim to serve as viable alternatives. Developers will be able to code apps in HTML5, a common theme shared by Ubuntu Phone and Mozilla's Firefox OS.
Tizen and Firefox OS are being developed with flexibility in mind, with an open-source approach that potentially offers a simpler way to tune the OS to a wider range of hardware. The system does not completely shut out the most popular platforms, however, as Android apps will be supported via Open Mobile's ACL technology.
Tizen is a project within The Linux Foundation, though it is being co-developed through partnership between Samsung and Intel. As expected, Samsung is the first company to confirm plans to release Tizen devices before the end of the year. The v2.0 announcement arrives just ahead of Mobile World Congress, though it remains unclear if any Tizen devices will be unveiled at the show.