Tizen @ MWC: The IoT is growing, and so is Tizen

Tizen and its partners attended MWC 2015 in Barcelona, where we showcased the latest innovations in connected devices and apps. Attendees who stopped by the Tizen booth were able to get their hands on several Tizen devices including the Samsung Z1 and the Samsung Gear S, while our partners demonstrated their various technologies built on Tizen.

MWC has grown dramatically, and much of that growth has to do with a broadened appeal, stretching the imagination and the innovation that envelops “mobile”. To tap into all of the unique perspectives and viewpoints at the show, we conducted a survey of more than 300 attendees, asking questions about their preferences in mobile handsets, operating systems and connected devices. What we learned falls right in line with our views on the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Tizen.

But first… some interesting takes on the deciding factors in device choice. With many exhibitors launching new mobile devices at the show, it was extremely relevant to ask people what their top priority was when choosing a new mobile device. The answer? Respondents seemed to favor usability above all else, with 65% deeming it the most important feature. Quality of the camera was a distant second at 11%. Power consumption and breadth of available apps were slightly less dominant at 10% and 9% respectively.

So what does this mean for Tizen? Today’s mobile phone buyers are primarily interested in a smartphone that is user-friendly, customizable and convenient. Vendors should continue offering devices with more personalized experiences that take user preferences and context into account, allowing consumers to quickly complete everyday tasks with just a few taps and finger swipes.

This strong demand for usability in mobile devices is inevitably linked to the device’s OS, and 66% of our respondents confirmed this assumption by pointing to a device’s operating system as very important when deciding whether to buy a device or not. With usability increasingly becoming more a product of software than hardware, the Tizen community is intent on developing a flexible and efficient operating system that can adapt to a wide variety of connected devices. Tizen can deliver a high level of usability across devices thanks to its lightweight and open source nature, providing a high level of customization through comprehensive access to common open source libraries. From a device maker’s perspective, having the ability to create custom user experiences is a huge opportunity to finding that consumer sweet spot while still maintaining differentiation.

As the borders of mobility expand, there’s more and more talk about IoT, with close to 90% of survey respondents deemed cross-device communication as important, and nearly half said it was very important. To top it off, 76% of the respondents answered that they expected to use 3 or more connected devices outside of their smartphones in the next two years. Connected devices and the inter-connectivity between them will undoubtedly be vital in the coming years, and establishing a unified platform for these devices is more important now than ever.

This is an exciting time to be part of Tizen as we continue to actively develop an open platform to support a wide variety of device types, including mobile, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), wearables, TV, cameras, home appliances and more. Our web API is also continuously improving with enhancements like support within HTML5 apps for on-device hardware, enabling endless possibilities for the IoT.

The emergence of new Tizen-powered devices such as Samsung Smart TVs, mobile phones and home appliances like refrigerators speaks to the growing market demand and trends we identified at the show. Indeed, close to half of the respondents thought that televisions were the devices that would benefit the most from being connected within your home, followed by lighting (17%), cars (15%) and fridges (6%).

The future for alternative OSs certainly looks bright, with over 70% of respondents saying they would be interested in developing on a platform outside of iOS/Android. With that kind of developer interest, we’re all excited for the next Tizen development!