back to article Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs

Samsung will throw US$9m at developers willing to have a go at making apps for smartphones running Tizen. Tizen is now a Linux Foundation project, so enjoys independent oversight and is free to adopt. But that's not helped it to catch on in the smartphone market: Samsung offers a handful of models but hasn't taken them far …

  1. Schultz

    Pocket change for Samsung ...

    to keep the Tizen option alive. Maybe they'll need it some day. Maybe they'll stumble upon the killer app. Or maybe times / fashions change and they suddenly have a winner at hand.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Pocket change for Samsung ...

      Perhaps they're getting nervous of the direction in which Google are taking Android. The version on the new Pixels seem to be hinting at Google heading in a Google-only direction. If that's true Samsung will need a plan B.

      Tizen doesn't seem to me to be a very good plan B.

      It's quite interesting to see what the Chinese have done with Android. They've successfully taken it forward and, with a degree of government backing, supplanted Google's own services with their own domestic providers (Baidu). It's a flourishing ecosystem, and not being involved in that makes it very difficult now for both Google and Apple to get market traction there. China succeeded because it's big enough that their own local monopoly could do its own thing and ignore Google.

      Doing another "China" would be a better plan B. Could Samsung do the same thing, provide their own replacement services? Probably not. Google's walled garden already encompasses most of the Western World. There needs to be government enforced separation of OS and services and open competition between providers (aka Break Up Google!) before another mobile OS can survive. BlackBerry have tried hard (excellent services, excellent OS, market failure), and it didn't stop the juggernaut. Microsoft too. Even Apple are losing out. BlackBerry may survive because, in their recent adoption of Android, they've decided to climb on board rather than be squashed by the tires again.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Pocket change for Samsung ...

        The version on the new Pixels seem to be hinting at Google heading in a Google-only direction.

        What makes you think that? It's already in the CM nightlies.

        Google is a services company and it is working very hard using all kinds of the methods to offer more services to more people.

        It's difficult to see how the rest of the world can benefit from the Chinese experience. Switching to Baidu would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fie.

        But Samsung's much more expensive purchase of Harman International suggests that they're interested in the embedded space. They've already gained experience of Tizen on weaker hardware with the Gear watches.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pocket change for Samsung ...

      Maybe they'll stumble upon the killer app.

      No one is going to produce a killer app for 10 grand and Samsung are only promoting already successful apps. They need to promote apps further down the list that could do with better graphics, licenced artwork, music and connections to content. Stuff that independents starting out struggle with. You could probably buy enough downloads for a couple of grand, Samsung would do better to investigate a bit more than downloads alone.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wny should Tizen be different?

    For reasons similar to why there's AliBaba as well as eBay?

  3. Jim84

    Decentralized OS?

    So no one builds Tizen apps because there are no Tizen phones out there.

    I know that Fire OS is an Android fork where Amazon has rewritten some of google play services APIs so that some/most of the Android apps still work with Fire OS. But this is still a little inferior to Android as not all the apps will work with it.

    I don't know why Samsung doesn't encourage use by splitting the 30% of any app store fee 15% between the phone manufacturer and 15% to the app developer. Google just pockets this.

    But Tizen will forever be riding on the coattails of Android and just reverse engineering Android's new features. Who is going to pay for the development of new or better features?

    Also there is the problem that if Tizen ever takes off (after significant investment and advertising by Samsung) then Samsung 'turns evil', and does a Google, and starts restricting access or trying to keep other Tizen handset makers out, or disadvantage slightly in, the premium (and profitable) end of the handset market.

    Is it possible to set up an independent arms length Tizen/Linux foundation, and have every handset user pay (via bitcoin) to install the OS, where they then get to vote on what new features are developed by the community? Or alternatively have a slice of app store fees go towards voted development of features?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Decentralized OS?

      >Is it possible to set up an independent arms length Tizen/Linux foundation, and have every handset user pay (via bitcoin) to install the OS, where they then get to vote on what new features are developed by the community?

      Tizen is mostly open source, with some open-source-ish bits, as far as I can make out. There is the Tizen Association which suggests changes, and the Tizen Technical Steering Group which implements changes.

      The idea of users voting on features... this suggest that software features might be mutually exclusive to each other (okay, developer time is finite, I guess) which i don't quite grok. It is often hardware that limits features, and users already effectively pay to vote on hardware when they choose a handset.

      Where features are limited in software, it is either because someone can't be bothered to implement it (business model), or the limitation serves the business model of the phone vendor.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tizen#Licensing_model

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

    It's horrible to develop for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

      One has to ask why they chose the awful-sounding Enlightenment to base their company's future on ?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

        If you dive into the wormhole it turns out it's because Unity 3D starts up a fraction of a millisecond faster under Enlightenment than it does under Qt. So that's why they decided to go for Enlightenment which is a horrendous toolkit to develop for instead of Qt where you can bang out an app in an afternoon.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

        "One has to ask why they chose the awful-sounding Enlightenment to base their company's future on ?"

        Once upon a time Red Hat used Enlightenment as its default window manager. It could do all kinds of kewl things (e.g add chrome handle bars to windows, transparency etc). but it hogged resources, was extremely badly documented and impossibly complex for users to configure.

        So Red Hat dumped it for GNOME and a WM called Sawfish. It sounds like the E devs really haven't learned much over the years.

      3. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

        That's Samsung's fault. Samsung's Bada OS used Enlightenment because... er, I guess Samsung didn't want third-party competition to the built-in apps, or something. Okay, I'm being facetious, but whatever runtime performance improvement it has, it is not worth the developer brutalisation it requires just to get simple shit done. I've had the misfortune to use most Linux GUI toolkits at one point or other, but even in that Rogues' Gallery, Enlightenment stands out for making you keep track of trivial things that have nothing to do with the task you need to achieve.

        So, how did it end up in Tizen? Back when Tizen was still MeeGo, Qt was the preferred toolkit (MeeGo partner Nokia had bought Qt specifically to give itself a good cross-platform toolkit for mobile apps). Before that, when Tizen was called Moblin, Clutter was preferred, with secondary status for Qt and GTK+.

        Of these, Qt is the most mature, the most accessible (QML/QtQuick really does let designers with only CSS and basic JS to produce fluid, functional UIs), and has the best tooling by an enormous margin.

        So, obviously, when Samsung took on the Mobile Linux project, they deprecated Qt and made Enlightenment the toolkit of choice without really giving a good explanation except maybe "We Had to Suffer, So So Should You".

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

      Dear god, I wonder what made them decide to use EFL. It looks unfixably awful.

      Either QT or GTK would have been a far better choice for development. Both have backends for wayland and both are far more mature and well documented / supported products.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

        Here's a link someone else has dredged up to show us the full horror of EFL... Custom button style with "press" effect and changable color

        That's one button.

  5. Nallaikkumaran

    Where are the news???

    Today

    Pregnant Western Sydney mother has suffered second degree burns from her iPhone 7-

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/a-pregnant-western-sydney-mother-has-suffered-second-degree-burns-from-her-iphone-7/news-story/86cb36b317af68218b71c368cbb59d14

    Latest

    New Case of iPhone 6 Plus burned Reported in USA

    http://www.click2houston.com/news/man-says-daughters-iphone-overheated-in-her-pocket

    New Case of iPhone 7 Plus Explosion Reported in China

    http://www.gizmochina.com/2016/11/10/new-case-iphone-7-plus-explosion-reported-china/

    iPhone 5s reportedly catches fire while on charge

    http://www.phonearena.com/news/iPhone-5s-reportedly-catches-fire-while-on-charge_id87123

    Fresno woman says her iPhone exploded and caught on fire in her bedroom

    http://abc30.com/.../fresno-woman-says-her.../1543292/

    New Jersey college student's iPhone explodes in class burning a hole in his jeans pocket -

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/.../New-Jersey-college-student...

    Watch out for the iPhone’s 911 bug

    http://www.techradar.com/news/watch-out-for-the-iphones-911-bug

    They avoid Apple bad news all the time. This site and its writers are apple-biased. There are plenty of reports about iPhone 5, 6 and 7 explosions as well (2014-2016 - +100 cases..). Not to mention the iPhone that killed people too. But they are no news about that.

    Apple media are very good at masking Apple problems. Please Don't trust the corporate media. You can't trust these media (yellow journalists). They're dishonest and ruthless business media. This is hands down the worst fraud media I have ever seen. They avoid Apple bad news all the time (iPhones explosions). How honest are you? How is lying different from 'hiding the truth'? How much is Apple paying you $. Have you no shame? Not at all. Shameful. What a shame! Fraud media. Apple: Please, somebody, stop explosions news...Theregister Pls help me...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Your critical thinking appears to have malfunctioned. In the last decade there have been many stories about laptops and phones catching fire.

      You've cited iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models. What you have failed to do is provide context by stating just how many iPhone 6 and 7s there are in the wild. Being conservative, the figure is north of 60 million. Without that number, you can't begin to estimate the risk of any given iPhone injuring you. Just as you estimate the risk of crossing the road, cooking with hot liquids, lifting a box, drinking, going hill walking, taking a swim, owning a Samsung / Sony phone, trying to open some blister packaging without scissors....

      >How much is Apple paying you $. Have you no shame? Not at all. Shameful. What a shame! Fraud media. Apple: Please, somebody, stop explosions news...Theregister Pls help me...

      Uh, okay. See the above. Calm down, get good data, estimate the risks. It seems that since you don't own an iPhone, your health is more at risk from your fragile mental state than it is any Apple product. There are many meta-studies in the medical literature about that.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Oh, I dunno, maybe elsewhere than under a Tizen story? If newsworthy. It's not like El Reg is adverse to dumping on Apple, ya know. Unless they've suddenly become desperate to get invited to their shindigs.

      Twat.

  6. Prickme

    No clue

    It is very simple. Do what Microsoft/RIM/Apple and Android have all failed at.

    Sell a phone with bands enabled or configurable for USA/Europe/Asia like the Nexus 5x.

    Allow proper access to hardware (hackable) + driver source/specs so people can do interesting things with only token barriers, including the RIL and lower level functions

    Sell phone in USA,UK and elsewhere and on Amazon for ease of access

    Tell all the jailbreak/hacker groups + Replicant etc they can play and make money with commercial apps. Let them run wild.

    Tell and/or make available to industry groups that need a general purpose computer with 4G who will put it to uses they never could have imagined, like cardiac monitor, aviation maps, restaurant ordering, embedded controller, remote camera, etc.

    But like most phone companies, crippled with assumptions, hubris and only can imagine throwing cash than winning minds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No clue

      If someone makes a phone with the lower level network functionality exposed then they're not connecting it to my network, and no-one else will allow it to connect either.

      There's a reason that those functions are restricted.

      1. patrickstar

        Re: No clue

        So, am I correct in reading that as: "All that's needed to hack my network is a custom LTE implementation or some 'borrowed' telco gear" ?

        Or are you worried about interference on the RF level or something? Newsflash: There are plenty of SDRs around, not to mention homebuilt transceivers and amplifiers (some with enough power to not only interfere with your gear but fry it as well).

        Or are you talking about your home/office network or something, worrying about non-jailed devices? I assume you have someone check iOS and Android devices for jailbreak/compromise before letting them on your WiFi then? Not to mention real computers - can't allow those, only locked-down Fisher Price toys!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical brain dead manufacturer with razor margins doing what the do best

    It is very simple. Do the OPPOSITE of what Microsoft/RIM/Apple and Android have all tried and failed at.

    1. Communicate. Answer emails.

    2. Be open and welcoming. Allow proper access to hardware (hackable) + driver source/specs/instruction set so people can do interesting things with only token barriers, including API/access to the the RIL and lower level functions, like BBOpen

    3.Sell a phone with bands enabled or configurable for USA/Europe/Asia like the Nexus 5x.

    4. Sell phone in USA,UK and elsewhere and on Amazon for ease of access and anywhere there are smart people with time on their hands (Eastern Europe etc)

    5. Tell all the jailbreak/hacker groups + Replicant etc they can play and make money with commercial apps. Let them run wild.

    6. Tell and/or make available to industry groups that need a general purpose computer with 4G who will put it to uses they never could have imagined, like cardiac monitor, aviation maps, restaurant ordering, embedded controller, remote camera, etc

    7. You will have a thriving ecosystem in about 12 months.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical brain dead manufacturer with razor margins doing what the do best

      "It is very simple. Do the OPPOSITE of what Microsoft/RIM/Apple and Android have all tried and failed at."

      Android and Apple are failing? Hell, what's your definition of success?

      If it is so simple, no-one's stopping you. Release a phone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You will have a thriving ecosystem in about 12 months.

      Chinny reckon.

  8. Esme

    Good heavens, at THAT price

    - even I'd consider buying a 'smartphone'. There's plenty of poor folk in the West, I can't imagine a halfway decent 'phone at that price not doing well here!

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Good heavens, at THAT price

      The problem is though, that would potentially harm the sales of their overpriced units.

      I can only imagine that there's a fairly huge markup on a £500-£800+ premium phone and very little on a £50 throwaway device and when you're shipping 350 million a quarter, that's a significant profit margin.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Why it will be different

    1. Samsung has a very hot product line.

    2. Samsung has literally exploded into the market; they've really made a mark on people.

    3. Samsung knows that it isn't just excess money that burns a hole in your pocket.

    4. Samsung screens are the brightest in the market - particularly with orange hues.

    5. Samsung has taken haptic feedback in a direction Apple will never dare go.

    6. Samsung makes their users enflamed - Apple can only manage cool.

    ...I can do this all day, if needed...

  10. AIBailey

    Samsung sets fire to $9m...

    ...when an accountant accidentally leaves his S7 Note in a bank vault.

    1. Shmako

      Re: Samsung sets fire to $9m...

      Will you be here all week? And should we try the veal?

  11. Cuddles Silver badge

    What phones?

    "Samsung will throw US$9m at developers willing to have a go at making apps for smartphones running Tizen."

    But... there aren't any phones running Tizen. At least, not any available for the vast majority of people to buy (there are a couple of extremely low-end models in India). It doesn't matter how much money you try to bribe developers with, no-one's going to bother if you don't actually provide a platform for them to develop for.

  12. Peter Gordon

    I would say "don't forget webos"

    ... But then I would think about webos and cry.

  13. picturethis
    Meh

    My time is worth money

    Just another classic egg-chicken problem.

    Dear Samsung,

    I have to make a living. Betting my time against the success or failure of your product, had better be worth it. The cards are stacked against your solution, betting my livelyhood for $10,000 is not a good bet. Sorry, this is not much better than playing the lottery and hoping to win.

    If you really believe in your product, put together a team at Samsung, fund them as full-time developers and show Samsung's committment to the product and not by using some marketing ploy that allows you to walk away with minimal damage - except for the people that invested THEIR time in YOUR product.

    How about throwing in some Samsung shares for successful apps? Heaven forbid you actually give something of value in exchange for work done.

    Some (most?) Devs can be financially ignorant, but we're learning..

    Secondly, choose a solution that is not a complete technical disaster which doesn't seem to be the case in this situation.

  14. Mage Silver badge

    QT

    Sadly Nokia bought Trolltech / QT and then messed it up, the original guys left.

    What did Nokia do with all that stuff after they conned MS into buying the dying phone division? They didn't sell any IP to MS.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: QT

      It's a going concern, now called The Qt Company.

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: QT

      Senior people leaving after a big acquisition isn't a sign of things being screwed up, but rather the normal run of events. There are many reasons, but the main one is that people who were already bored of their work are now given a strong reason to retire in the form of a sizeable financial payout. That payout is in exchange for the standard "no leaving for X months" contracts that key contributors have to sign during takeover negotiations.

      But to answer the question: Qt was acquired from Nokia by Finnish IT consultancy Digia which then renamed itself as The Qt Company. The platform is still active in the embedded device and in-vehicle product segments.

      I don't actively use Qt anymore, nor do I have any connection to Qt - but if you're considering a cross-platform toolkit for devices, you could do worse than visiting www.qt.io

  15. AndyDent
    Pint

    Saved by Xamarin Forms?

    Wow, those articles on Enlightenment brought back some scary memories of very early GUI toolkits!

    Something which may be a saviour of Tizen development is the announcement of .NET support with the GUI provided by Xamarin Forms. I'm a big fan of Forms and this sounds like the smartest leap forward they could have done to get a ton of developers on board. It means people developing cross-platform apps for iOS and Android will now consider Tizen a plausible platform.

    There are a lot of Xamarin developers in India especially doing corporate work. (I am currently on the Xamarin SDK team for the Realm Database Platform, including doing tech support).

    https://developer.tizen.org/development/preview/api-reference#APIOverview-Xamarin.Forms

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