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Samsung Tizen OS: 6 Things You Need To Know

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What is Tizen OS?

It’s been several years in development and with the announcement of the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, we could be inching closer to the first smartphone running on Samsung’s own Tizen operating system.

After siding with Google and embracing Android for its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, the Korean manufacturer is signalling its intent to go it alone, offering an alternative to Google’s mobile OS, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 perhaps to a lesser extent.

So what is Tizen and how will it differ from Android? Here’s six things we know so far about the operating system that joins Firefox OS, Jolla Sailfish and Ubuntu Touch in the bid to shake things up.

Watch our Tizen OS demo video:

1. It’s open source

Samsung has worked with Intel to develop the Linux-based platform that was built from Nokia and Intel’s ditched MeeGo platform. Its open source nature means hardware manufacturers that choose to adopt it, are free to tinker with the interface and the UI to make it as unique as they like.

Samsung has also taken some of the more interesting features that cropped up in Bada, its first attempt to go it alone on an operating sytem and built them into Tizen.

2. HTML 5

Tizen is an HTML5-based operating system, which means for content creators the platform should have a shorter development cycle and lower costs to deal with to make apps.

For the user, it means we can expect slicker mobile web applications for phones and tablets. There should be greater native support for video especially so you'll no longer have to download plug-ins to watch YouTube clips or when you want to listen to a song.

3. Tizen will look like Android with TouchWiz

Will it be as clean and an intuitive experience as iOS or Android’s 4.4 Kitkat operating systems? In its latest guise 2.2.1, Tizen doesn’t look entirely different from a TouchWiz-layered Android as our Tizen first look video above shows.

Running on a prototype phone, you can see that Dynamic boxes play a big part in the overall feel of the UI and can be re-sized to reveal more information from the app.

Tizen will also include the swipe down notification bar with toggle bar as used in the TouchWiz UI and is set to support multitasking, integrated power saving, a firewall to block sites and other features already available in current Samsung phones.

4. It’s not just for smartphones

The operating system aims to offer a unified experience across multiple devices, so expect to see it featured in TVs, laptops and even crop in the 'bank and car industries' according to Samsung Electronics co-CEO J.K. Shin.

Tablets running Tizen have already reached the hands of developers and the operating system has also been demoed running inside in-car entertainment systems. The first official Tizen device, the 20.3-megapixel Samsung NX300M camera was announced in late 2013. As for the first smartphone, well, Samsung is still aiming for a 2014 launch with the latest suggesting we can expect a Tizen phone in March.

5. Samsung Tizen apps

As we've seen with Windows 8/Windows Phone 8, apps is a very big deal for any new operating system. The good news is that Tizen will support native and web apps just as it did for Bada and existing Bada apps will also be ported over. Cut the Rope and Gameloft's Asphalt 7 are already set for the open Tizen Store and gives you an idea of the calibre of content you can expect at launch.

To help make sure the app catalogue is fully stocked, Samsung also launched a Tizen app challenge in 2013 handing out $4 million to the 64 winners who created a both native Tizen apps and HTML5-based applications.

The Instagram-like Tizengram HTML 5 app was created by one developer during a Tizen Developer lab in 2013

6. The future of Tizen

Tizen 2.2.1 is primed and ready to be used on smartphones despite Samsung having yet to unveil its first phone. That's not stopped the S4-makers from looking at what's next with Tizen 3.0 already in the works. Revealing details at its Tizen developer summit back in late 2013, new features include support for 64-bit processors including Intel and ARM chips.

Like Android, there will be multi-user profiles as well as support for games and app that require more advanced 3D graphics. This update is expected later in 2014 and has already made an appearance on the Samsung Galaxy S4 so we might not too far away.

Are you sold on the Tizen OS? Do you think it will be a success? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

MORE: Read our round-up of the best smartphones

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