Samsung Electronics and Intel are banking that a little bit of cash will jump-start interest in Tizen, their upstart operating system.
The two companies are hosting an app development challenge, and will award a total of $4 million in prizes to winning developers. Winning apps can garner as much as $200,000.
Tizen represents a chance for Samsung to wean itself off its reliance on Google's Android operating system and offer a phone running on software it has a direct hand in developing. While Tizen is open, the initial work has been largely guided by Samsung and Intel. For Intel, aligning itself with a new operating system could eventually yield greater interest in its mobile chips.
But Tizen faces the same challenge as every other young operating system: garnering developer support for an app ecosystem. It's an issue that more established -- yet still unproven -- platforms such as BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone face, as well as other newer platforms such as Firefox and Ubuntu.
That's where the app challenge comes in. Developers have until November 1 to submit their apps. The judging will take place between November 4 and November 25, and winners will be announced in December.
With games being a popular category, it's no surprise that the top game will get the $200,000 grand prize, with the best non-game app winning $120,000. In addition, the top 10 HTML 5-based apps will win $50,000 each. In total, there are $4.04 million in prizes that will be awarded to 50 developers in nine categories.
After a coming-out party of sorts at Mobile World Congress, Tizen and its supporters have been working to drum up interest in the operating system. The Tizen Foundation hosted a developer conference in San Francisco in May.
A handful of carriers have committed to selling Tizen phones, including Japan's NTT Docomo. Sprint Nextel is part of the group that supports Tizen, but has yet to talk about the phones. The first phones were supposed to debut as early as this month, but have been pushed back to the fourth quarter due to issues with the app store.