Tizen, a new mobile OS still in development by Samung and Intel, has faced more setbacks than we can keep track of, but today supporters of the open source HTML5-based operating system finally have a reason to celebrate. The Tizen Association announced 15 new partners, including major carriers in the U.S. and Japan, in addition to Chinese search giant Baidu.
The mobile OS, which many believe Samsung will use to cut its dependence on Google’s Android software, was announced in late 2013 with 36 backers. This week Tizen welcomed a new batch of supporters, ranging from carriers to app makers to software developers. The news marks a noteworthy step forward for the operating system, which isn’t expected to launch until the second half of 2014 following multiple delays.
The biggest news here may be Sprint’s decision to support the program, indicating that Samsung could launch its first Tizen phone in the U.S. later this year. The addition of SoftBank (which owns a majority stake in Sprint) is also noteworthy after competing Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo scrapped its plans to bring support the OS at launch. Meanwhile, Baidu could give Tizen a real edge in China where Google has struggled to gain a foothold.
We still don’t expect the first Tizen smartphones to hit the market until later this year, but following today’s news we’re at least hopeful the Android competitor won’t see any more significant delays. Samsung is expected to bring several Tizen prototypes to Mobile World Congress later this month, meaning we may get a good look at the new software in just a few short weeks.