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Huawei taps Linux-based Tizen OS for phones

The relatively obscure mobile OS, which pairs Linux with a Web app interface, wins over a major Chinese mobile-phone maker. Also: Tizen's beta source code is out.

Huawei logo

BARCELONA--Chinese mobile-phone maker Huawei has joined the Tizen Association and said it plans to build phones using the open-source, Linux-based operating system.

In addition, Huawei joined Tizen's board, which also includes Intel, NEC, Casio, NTT Docomo, Orange, Panasonic, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

The association also announced the open-source release of the Tizen beta and a Windows version of programming tools to build Tizen apps.

"Further enhancements and improvements to Tizen and its development environment will continue as we work towards a final release, targeted for the second quarter of 2012," the association said today during the Mobile World Congress show here in Barcelona, Spain.

The mobile operating system combines a Linux foundation with a higher-level interface for Web applications. Tizen also picked up the pieces of Meego, the fizzled project by Intel and Nokia to build a Linux-based smartphone OS.

Supporting Web applications is a handy way to attract programmers who might otherwise devote their efforts to popular mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. "The Tizen SDK [software developer kit] and API [application programming interface] will allow developers to use HTML5 and related Web technologies to write applications that run across multiple device segments, including smartphone, tablet, smart TV, in-vehicle infotainment, and Netbook," Tizen said of its approach.

Though Huawei signed up, Tizen is hardly an exclusive OS for the company. "Our ongoing goal is to work closely with our customers and partners to bring truly innovative handset propositions to consumers in all markets, and the new Tizen ecosystem complements our existing areas of focus," said spokeswoman Glory Zhang in a statement.