I am not a fan of collaborative projects in the mobile OS landscape, and for good reason, too. I have seen too many drag on and on without tangible results. And then, after years of expectations and resources down the drain, the collaboration ends up in the dust bin. Tizen OS is walking that line now, and I predict that it will end up like those gone before it.
MeeGo was the collaboration between Nokia and Intel. Before then, Nokia had owned Maemo exclusively and seen a handful of Maemo devices into the market. Then Nokia joined hands with Intel, renamed the project MeeGo – and development slowed to a crawl. Collaboration. We never saw a true MeeGo device hit the market before the joint effort was ditched, and Intel hopped off to be a part of Tizen OS.
LiMo had existed for years before being recently renamed Tizen OS when Intel came aboard. Another collaborative effort under the aegis of the Linux foundation. Years of work. No devices anywhere. Sounds like MeeGo. Yes?
I cannot forget the Symbian Foundation. Nokia thought it would be great to bring everybody producing Symbian phones under an umbrella of collaboration on the OS. Symbian S80 had been ditched. Nokia bought off Symbian UIQ from Sony Ericsson, and then lumped everybody together under the Symbian Foundation to push Symbian S60. The results? Sluggish as hell kind of progress. You know the kind of OS that came out from the efforts of the foundation. When push came to shove, Symbian was unable to evolve fast enough under the driving of the Symbian Foundation, and eventually, Nokia had to get back in the driving seat, though the damage had been done.
Meanwhile, look at the gains of iOS and Android under the single-handed control of individual entities who knew what they wanted to do and went for it. While MeeGo and LiMo (now Tizen) lumbered, see how Samsung single-handedly pushed Bada OS and had devices in the market in no time. Of course, it appears that Samsung is now abandoning Bada for Tizen OS. Bad move in my opinion. Watch how fast Jolla Mobile has been able to move in the little time they have hit the ground running. We are already looking at the first Sailfish-powered device showing up soon.
Tizen OS and the Linux Foundation
Tizen OS is an open source project under the management of the Tizen Association and backed by the Linux Foundation. Its primary sponsor and evangelist is Samsung Mobile, but other members of the association include: NEC Casio, Panasonic, Vodafone, Orange, SK Telecom, Verizon Wireless.
At this rate, Tizen OS will likely go the way of the Symbian Foundation and the MeeGo joint effort. These collaboration things have an unchecked history of ending up a mess. Collaboration can be a pain in the behind. The bigger the number of participants in the collaboration, usually the greater the pain. Here in Nigeria, we know that you do not set up a committee except you have no intention of getting anything done.
If you really want to get something done, there’s no better way to go about it than to go after it by yourself and hit the ground running with it. You can acquire partners along the way. Just make sure that you stay in control of your dream. This collaboration thing doesn’t seem to be working so well in the mobile OS landscape.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.