Gearing Up for Tizen, Firefox OS, and the New Mobile Platforms

January 30 2013 by Tom MacWright

At MapBox we’re getting ready for the release of Tizen, an open source operating system jointly designed by Samsung and Intel.

Since Apple introduced iPhone and iOS in 2007, mobile devices and mobile maps have become a very important corner of technology. An expanding audience uses maps primarily through apps like foursquare and Yelp, and they interact with them in natural, gesture-based interfaces. That’s why we’re excited by a new group of operating systems, including Tizen, Firefox OS, and Ubuntu for phones, that will change the mobile ecosystem.

Tizen aims to be a great platform for apps based on web standards like HTML and JavaScript. Its fork of WebKit, the basic browser engine behind Google Chrome and Safari, is already performing very well on basic tests of HTML5 compatibility - meaning that it will work well with mobile code that already supports MapBox, including MapBox.js and Leaflet. If these results continue, Tizen will do better than Android with complex parts of mobile web maps, like touch events and CSS transforms for performance.

Along with providing integration via HTML5 for Tizen, we’re also stepping up compatibility with the MapBox iOS SDK, new integration points with PhoneGap, and many community-supported implementations of MBTiles, the popular offline map technology.

We’re excited to see another great shift in technology for 2013. With an open platform and strong integration points, we aim to guarantee that MapBox can work on many devices and many systems, from established choices to promising new options like Tizen.