Tizen adds 36 new partners including Nokia, eBay, as it looks beyond the smartphone

The Tizen Association is fleshing out its membership with mapping, software, and more smart device partners.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The Tizen Association, the group led by Samsung and Intel that's developing an Android-rival smartphone OS, has added 36 new partners, including eBay and Nokia's Here mapping business. 

Development of the Tizen operating system is gathering pace, with the association aiming to bring the OS not just to smartphones and tablets, but also TVs, appliances and in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Nokia announced on Monday it will join the program to put map-related functionality onto Tizen devices, while other new partners include Intel-owned security vendor McAfee, Panasonic, Sharp, and the Weather Channel. The tens of new participants join previous members including mobile operators such as SK Telecom, NTT Docomo, Vodafone and Orange, and device vendors Huawei and Fujitsu.

The association revealed its new lineup of developers and device makers at the Tizen Developer Summit being held this week in Seoul, South Korea. 

Tizen is a Linux-based operating system, which uses elements of LiMo and the Meego platform briefly used by Nokia. The association aims to drive the platform's commercialisation.

Similar to other emerging rivals to Android, such as Sailfish OS by Finland's Jolla, Tizen Association members are promoting the openness of Tizen and ability to customise the platform.

"One of the biggest benefits of Tizen to partners is the absence of application or feature mandates, allowing the OS to be customized based on what it is best for the end customer," Ryoichi Sugimura, a Tizen Association board member from NTT DoCoMo, said in a statement.

"This allows operators and some device manufacturers to select the provider of features and services that makes the most sense given the type of device, the location of the customer and the most popular use cases for that device. By democratising this portion of the product development, Tizen is driving increased innovation and competition in the industry."

Samsung CEO JK Shin earlier this year told Bloomberg that a high-end Tizen-based smartphone would arrive by August. However, the release date was later pushed back to the fourth quarter, and the handset has still yet to arrive. 

Samsung execs have also said they may launch a smart TV running Tizen in 2014.

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