US number-three Sprint became the first North American operator to sign up for the Tizen Association, a group intended to drive the adoption of an open, Linux-based platform for smartphones, marrying the former MeeGo efforts of Intel and Nokia with the work of the LiMo Foundation.
Fared Adib, its VP of Product, is to become a member of the Tizen board of directors. Sprint joins operators including NTT Docomo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone Group in supporting the work.
In a statement, the company said that it “continues to support an open mobile ecosystem that enables choice for Sprint customers, and Tizen provides another open and flexible environment for developers to create innovative applications for end users.”
The challenge Tizen faces is in persuading device makers to sign-up, especially as it is relatively unproven and does not have the breadth of ecosystem support of Android – which is backed by the key smartphone vendors beyond Apple and Nokia.
At the GSMA Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Huawei announced its support for the Tizen platform, also joining its board. It is also supported by Samsung, although this company is also an Android proponent, with its Galaxy range of devices.
The Tizen effort is intended to leverage web technologies such as HTLM5, in order to attract the broadest possible developer base – rather than promoting a more closed development path.
The initiative was announced in September 2011.