New smartphone OS to take on Android

2014-01-08 07:33
Smartphones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Smartphones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Tokyo - A new smartphone operating system developed by a global collaboration of tech firms to rival Google's Android and Apple's iOS will be launched in the next few months, Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo said on Wednesday.

The system, an open source called Tizen based on Linux, is expected to be installed on phones that are sold from the end of March, said NTT Docomo spokesperson Jun Otori.

Tizen is the product of a tie-up among companies from Japan, China, South Korea, Europe and the US and comes despite tensions among the Asian neighbours over territorial disputes.

The consortium that makes up Tizen Association include US giant Intel, Japan's Fujitsu, South Korea's Samsung and LG, China's Huawei, and European mobile carriers Vodafone and Orange.

"Unlike Android and iOS, Tizen allows us to develop freely whatever we envision because it is an open-source operating system," said Otori.

Japanese mobile phones once led the world with cutting-edge technologies such as Docomo's i-mode, the world's first mobile web service, and software including electronic payment systems.

But their glory faded quickly with the emergence of Apple's iPhone, as their concentration on catering to the peculiarities of domestic consumers saw them diverge from the rest of the world, a phenomenon dubbed "Galapagos Syndrome".

"With Tizen, we hope to revitalise Japanese-developed services and create new services more freely," Otori said.
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