First there was Maemo and Moblin, combined to form MeeGo under the stewardship of Nokia and Intel. The OS has been floundering after the defection of Nokia to Windows Phone, with plenty of rumors suggesting Intel's been looking for a new champion. Now we know its future: yet another new open source project called Tizen with the goal of developing a Linux-based device software platform.

The Linux Foundation will host the Tizen project, and Intel and Samsung will lead the development. Also joining the effort is the LiMo Foundation, a dedicated consortium with shared leadership and decision making consisting of ACCESS, Panasonic Mobile, NEC Casio, NTT Docomo, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telefonica, and Vodafone. Tizen will emphasize HTML5 apps and support multiple device categories including tablets, handsets, smart TVs and in-vehicle entertainment.

The MeeGo project is already encouraging its members to make the transition to Tizen, going so far as to say that it believes the "future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5."

Intel will support Tizen with its Intel AppUp developer program and a developer framework based on HTML5 and WAC standards. Intel is also encouraging developers to continue building and submitting apps for MeeGo netbooks already shipping, apps that will be compatible -- unchanged -- on Tizen netbooks.

Samsung adds Tizen to its lengthy list of supported mobile operating systems which includes Android, Windows Phone, and its own bada OS -- a custom-built mobile OS which the company will make open source in 2012. A Samsung spokesman told Reuters, "We've been a core Linux partner ... and this is in line with our strategy of supporting many platforms." With Microsoft partnering with Nokia and Google buying itself a hardware company it's easy to see why Samsung would desire greater control over its mobile OS future, even if the success of Tizen feels like a longshot while webOS is left to wither on the HP vine.

The initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012, with first devices hitting the market mid year.