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Samsung Tizen TV prototype could give us a glimpse at the future of Smart TV

Samsung Tizen TV

Samsung's prototype Tizen TV interface shows what the custom operating system is capable of when it's not being used for smartphones or wearable tech

Samsung’s Tizen developer conference may have been almost entirely overshadowed by Apple’s WWDC event which took place at the same time, in the same city this week, but the Korean company still managed to turn heads with its prototype Tizen smart TV.

Tizen is the mobile operating system being developed in part by Samsung to break the company’s reliance on Google for its Android software. Already being used to power the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo wearables, and confirmed to come pre-installed on the recently announced Samsung Z smartphone, Samsung was keen to show other uses for the software beyond mobile.

Installed on one of Samsung’s curved TVs, Tizen was shown being controlled by a regular remote control, a wand-style remote that moved an on-screen cursor, and via a smartphone app. It has more of a grid-based layout than the Smart Hub interface we’re used to seeing on Samsung’s TVs, but is still split into the usual Live TV, Photo & Video, Music, Apps and Source sections.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the unfinished nature of Tizen on TVs, Samsung wasn’t showing much in the way of third party apps. Beyond a dedicated YouTube app and web browser, it will be up to developers to support the new system in time for an expected launch next year. Tizen should be able to run any web app written in HTML5 and Javascript, which should hopefully speed up the porting process. A development kit is now available for anyone looking to code apps for the OS.

Perhaps most exciting is the news that Tizen is an open platform, meaning other manufacturers would be able to use it in their TVs. It would mean developers only need to make one version of their apps, rather than multiple ones to work with each company’s TV system. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of a scheme like this, with the Smart TV Alliance struggling to gain traction even with the combined support of Philips and Toshiba. With Sony and Panasonic investing heavily in their own Smart TV systems and LG only just introducing WebOS – software it purchased from HP at considerable expense, we doubt Tizen will become a TV standard any time soon.

Tizen for TVs is still very much in development, so the early preview shown this week isn’t indicative of the final product. However, with Samsung throwing its might behind the operating system for more than just mobile, we wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s CES show features at least one Tizen-powered TV.

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