Samsung and good UI design are normally not spoken of together. But if the newly-released Tizen screenshots are anything to go by, it seems there is someone at the company taking interface design seriously.

The Tizen project has released its 2.0 Magnolia SDK in a bid to invite developers and early adopters to try out the OS, report bugs and build apps for the project. Tizen began life as Meego and was featured in the Nokia N9, but since then Samsung has taken over the development reigns of the open source OS, overseen by the Linux Foundation. Tizen is positioned as very developer friendly and in a time when more and more open source mobile platforms are entering the market, it will be a major contender thanks to the backing of Samsung.

Those eager to try out the Linux-based OS can download the SDK and source code of Tizen 2.0 Magnolia from the developer site. The new version introduces many new features and improves the previous iterations of the OS, Tizen 1.0 Larkspur and the Alpha build of Magnolia.

Screenshots of the Tizen OS (image credit: SamMobile)

Screenshots of the Tizen OS (image credit: SamMobile)

It brings enhanced Web framework that provides state-of-the-art HTML5/W3C API support. The web UI framework supports full-screen and multi-window modes. The organisation has released more device APIs such as for Bluetooth and NFC support, and access to the device’s calendar, call history and messaging subsystems to develop apps that tie in to these services. The Web Runtime framework of Tizen 2.0 Magnolia supports new configuration elements for specifying the required features and privileges, and providing the basic runtime environment for NPRuntime plugins. It brings native framework supporting full-featured application development and providing a variety of features such as background applications, IP Push and TTS (Text-To-Speech)

The OS brings with it reference applications for the Calendar, Contacts, Gallery, Phone, Settings and the Video Player. It also introduces enhanced web Integrated Development Environment (IDE) providing What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) design environment, Chrome-based JavaScript inspector and JavaScript log viewer, and a native IDE providing a project wizard, WYSIWYG design environment, unit test tool and dynamic analyser.

Besides this changelog, SamMobile has got hold of information regarding the first Tizen device. It will be reportedly based on the Samsung Galaxy S3, although the website says it’s unclear if that means it will take up after the S3’s design or the hardware. The website also published several screenshots of the Tizen OS, which show a very Meego-like icon set and a very polished UI. The colour scheme looks bright and icons stand out in the largely white background in the various core apps. The setting screen in particular feels like a curious mix of Android, iOS and Meego.

Samsung is likely to sell the first Tizen phones by the end of the year, starting with a device for Japanese carrier NTT-DoCoMo. Other carriers interested in Tizen include UK's Vodafone and France Telecom, though there’s no telling when a more international-roaming friendly version of the phone will be released.

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