Once upon a time, on a cold winter day in Finland, a couple of Nokia engineers began work on a project called Maemo. The goal was to create a brand new mobile operating system based on Linux that had no relationship to Symbian, which at the time was the world’s most popular smartphone platform. The first Maemo device, the Nokia 770, hit the market in late 2005. Had it come out in 2012 the technology press would have called it Nokia’s answer to the Apple iPad, but back then it was nothing more than an “internet tablet” that Nokia saw a smartphone accessory more than anything else. Fast forward to February 2010, Nokia announced that they would merge the Maemo project with Moblin, which was Intel’s brand new Linux based operating system, and call the resulting love child MeeGo. When Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft employee, became the CEO of Microsoft just a few months later in September, MeeGo’s future was put into question. Twelve months later (September 2011 if you’re having a hard time keeping track) Intel announces that Nokia is no longer working on MeeGo, and that Samsung will take Nokia’s place. Their collaborative project became known as Tizen.
With that backstory in place, let’s talk about Bada, which Samsung launched in early 2010. It’s essentially a really good clone of Android, but unlike Android it doesn’t exactly have a huge amount of market share. We don’t know how well Bada is doing because Samsung doesn’t say how many Bada device they’ve shipped, but for the purposes of this article that’s not really important. What’s important is that last week Samsung announced that they’re going to be merging Bada with Tizen. When are we going to see the first products based on this Frankenstein OS? Not anytime soon according to Tae-Jin Kang, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s Content Planning Team.
This begs the question: Why is Samsung bothering with Bada/Tizen in the first place?