Just a few quick thoughts while we have a moment, as there is always plenty of background activity for us here, to note the musical chair action happening just beneath the surface. Let’s peel a layer on the wonderful example of Game Theory currently taking place related to mobile operating systems and a predictable rise of Tizen over the months and years to come. For a decent current overview on this effort, including what’s new in the 2.0 Magnolia build, see their FAQ section [.pdf]
As with the demonstrated rise and fall for handset makers; Nokia > Blackberry > iPhone > Samsung.. (food for thought on a separate post about who is gearing up to be ‘the’ next contender there), the same evolution is afoot for embedded operating systems and application platforms as well. While there are nearly as many reasons as new players in that dance, but simply put; it’s not a matter of If but When we begin to see a real shift in this space.
The current environment has two well entrenched incumbents, riding herd on their respective global brands and combined historic resource offerings. The challenge with that ‘lock’ of course is that other key players in the value chain have become, essentially, assembly lines and bit-pipes. The handset makers and telcos, generally speaking, have gone along with the current phase – little choice – while examining their options and considering best growth path opportunities.
As we move towards fast, dependable and affordable network infrastructure combined with ever more powerful handsets, the usage, options, and recurring revenue potential at the client service layer becomes increasingly more valuable. As the operators and device makers consider their desired roles in that new world order, an open-source operating system based on Linux presents clear potential benefit. Looking at the larger so-called Internet of Things future, that exact same logic applies to TV and Auto (etc.) industry players as well.
So.. what does any of this have to do with Japan? Perhaps note ‘Who’ is Chair of the Tizen Association – see the presentation by Nagata-sensei back in 2012 [.pdf] along with his leading comments on their release during MWC this year. In fact, DoCoMo, and partners, had announced this course of action was on their road-map three years ago and have since confirmed they will begin shipping the first Tizen units here later this year.
It’s tempting to go longer on this theme, for example; will Sprint continue
if when SoftBank takes control, but with powerful core members already lining up – and a post AOL era for the mobile web on the horizon – let’s just say that clock is ticking.
As always, it will be interesting times and we’ll be watching.
– WWJ Editors