Samsung and Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile communication company, are joining forces to develop Tizen, an open source OS that supporters hope will cut into the 90% marketshare held by Google and Apple. The smartphones may be on the market by next year, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun. DoCoMo is the only firm among Japan’s three top mobile operators that does not sell iPhones, which has caused it to lose a substantial amount of subscribers over the last four years.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Tizen-equipped smartphones are likely to be released in Japan and other countries around the world at the same time. The Next Web speculates that one likely platform for a first look at the devices is the Mobile World Congress in February, though Samsung’s focus on the Galaxy S4 means that launch dates are harder to predict. The Korean company is diversifying its OS offerings: it also plans to release Window Phone devices around the same time Tizen smartphones are expected to make their debut.
Tizen was launched by Samsung in conjunction with Intel to replace the MeeGo platform, which was cancelled by the Linux Foundation in September 2011 in favor of Tizen, but consumers have had to wait a while to try out the OS (the Linux Foundation had originally hoped to release Tizen devices by mid-2012). The open source, Linux-based operating system offers a contrast to Android and iOS by making it easier for mobile phone service companies to offer their own services.