Tizen Phones May Be Launched This Year


Tizen phones may be launched this year as Samsung is not giving up on its operating system, which sales in Bangladesh are good. The South Korean smartphone maker still loves its homegrown platform and is planning to launch more Tizen phones later this year in various prices, according to Reuters. The current Tizen lineup of smartphones is only one device, the Samsung Z1, priced at $92. It launched this year in January and is now selling over a million units. It is even the best-selling phone in Bangladesh.

Like Android, Samsung’s mobile OS is an open-source mobile operating system, which means, it runs on all kinds of devices – mobile phones, computer tablets, and TVs. A group called Tizen Association was established in 2012 to give the platform support. Other members of the association are Panasonic, Intel, and Huawei, while Samsung takes the lead on developing the OS, that is initially designed to answer the dominant mobile platforms, iOS and Android.

Following several delays and setbacks, Samsung finally offered an alternative platform to emerging markets seeking low-cost phones, in India and Bangladesh in January. At an inexpensive price, Z1 is for sale off-contract, at $92. Samsung also ships its OS to other products like wearables, Gear S and Gear 2, as well as on its smart TVs this year.

The Economic Times reported that Z1 sold a million units in India in less than six months. It is heard that Samsung will have a follow-up unit of Gold variant next month. Z1 came to India in mid-January and the South Korean phone maker said Z1’s growth in the country is on target. It promises to ship the gold Z1 with more messaging and game apps, plus several other Tizen phones which may be launched this year.

However, Ars Technica said the first Tizen phone is not an Android killer, but a bad Android clone. As per its review of Z1 in the earlier months, the Z1 has few apps and has a weird user interface, such as, a home screen page that only shows widgets, not apps. The tech website sees the Z1 handset as a cheap version of the old Android and says not introducing something innovative is a waste of time.

According to Ars Technica, Samsung’s OS succeeds with televisions and smartwatches, but not smartphones as Samsung still has to establish a competitive ecosystem for the platform, so it can fairly contend with other mobile operating systems. However, what makes the rumors interesting is that Tizen phones will come in “varying price points,” which means, there will be higher-end handsets, and not the only available $92 priced handset to showcase a new OS.

As per CNET’s belief, Samsung’s platform is important in reinvigorating the South Korean tech firm’s mobile division. The sales of its Android devices last year were such a disappointment that it cuts the number of phones it would offer this year. Strategy Analytics revealed in April state the Asian OEM shipped 83.2 million phones worldwide in Q1 2015, resulting in 24 percent of the market share. Yet that figure is 31 percent less against the same period last year.

Another challenge Samsung faces is the emergence of Chinese rivals Huawei and Xiaomi which steal the South Korean’s big market share in China where it used to be a favorite phone maker. The smartphone market has room for lower-end, which Tizen can occupy. Yet, even that space has Android to compete with.

While rumor has it that Tizen phones may be launched this year, VP for Marketing, Mobile, and IT, Asim Warsi of Samsung India said that the number of apps in Tizen Store has doubled since January.  Also, there will be more after the Tizen Development Summit, which is set on July 30 to 31 in India. The summit expects 800 to 1,000 attending app developers. Warsi said, unlike its predecessors, the new models will be made in Noida.

By Judith Aparri

Ars Technica: Reuters: Samsung won’t give up on Tizen OS, plans more phones this year
CNET: Samsung’s Tizen may launch on more smartphones this year
The Economic Times: Samsung sells a million Tizen-fitted Z1s in less than six months, plans Gold version

Photo courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns‘ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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