Samsung prepares first Tizen-based smartphone
Galaxy-maker boldly goes further in bid to jettison Android
Samsung Electronics today confirmed it is developing a Tizen-based smartphone that will be released in the third quarter, in the next major step to decouple its handsets from Google's Android platform.
The Samsung Z, which the company will show off at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco on tomorrow, will come with a 4.8-inch HD display and the fingerprint sensor first introduced in the Galaxy S5.
Tizen is a Linux-based open-source OS with no clear licensing structure. While Samsung developed a large portion of the platform's core functionality, other elements of the system are still open source.
In February, Samsung launched updated versions of its Gear companion watch, all of which carried the Tizen OS. The event, at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress 2014, preceded the launch of the flagship Galaxy S5 by just a day, leading to speculation that the S5 might be Tizen-driven. But the S5 carried Android, and few innovations, and was plagued by a lacklustre reception from pundits and consumers.
A report by Reuters indicated that the launch of the Z would be in selected markets, which may serve as a test bed for what will be a comparatively modest Tizen ecosystem. Samsung does operate its own app store, but has no track-record of building the kind of loyalty base enjoyed by Google Play or the App Store.
However, Rachel Lashford, a Singapore-based analyst at Canalys, does not believe Samsung's Tizen experiment should be written off.
"There is plenty of room and plenty of opportunity for a strong third vendor; arguably if you can carve out 10% of a 2bn-units market in smartphones [2018 estimate], then that could be an opportunity," she said.