Feb 05, 2014

Where are the mobile devices from Samsung running Tizen OS?

I heard a lot about Tizen, Samsung’s proprietary OS for smartphones and tablets, last year, but I haven’t seen any ads or anything else indicating that it is actually going to reach the market. Is Tizen really a serious effort at an alternative OS by Samsung, and if so, when are Tizen devices going to be available?


"Tizen is an open source, standards-based software platform for multiple device categories, including smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle infotainment devices, smart TVs, and more. Tizen offers an innovative operating system, applications, and a user experience that consumers can take from device to device.

Tizen smartphone technologies include a flexible and powerful user interface, 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, location based service frameworks, sensor frameworks, and multi-tasking and multi-touch capabilities. In addition, support for scalable screen resolution means that the platform can deliver a consistent user experience across a broad range of handset types and form factors.

Tizen offers a touch-optimized user interface for tablets with a suite of built-in applications for Web browsing, personal information management, and media consumption."
It’s officially still under development, and don’t forget that Intel is also partnered with Samsung to develop Tizen. However, what need is there to fork an open source OS like Android? Does Samsung want to make the equivalent of Kindle Fires? The first Tizen phone was supposed to be released last month in Japan, but the carrier pulled out, most likely because there is very little demand for it, and I don't know of any developers that want to build Tizen apps. Look how difficult it has been for Microsoft to establish a foothold with a third major mobile OS (fourth if you count BlackBerry). After throwing billions of dollars at it and partnering with Nokia, one of the most innovative hardware makers in the world, they have achieved about a 5% market share. That’s just a small step above failure, and that’s with a version of the most widely used OS in the world, Windows. How is Tizen going to do better? I don’t know, and I expect the people behind Tizen really don’t know either.

Samsung and Google have also been working together more closely lately, and Samsung has apparently agreed to tone down TouchWiz so that its devices offer a more solid “Android” experience. There is even some speculation that one of the motivations for Google’s sale of Motorola Mobility was to “make nice” with Samsung. This may be a slow walk-back from Tizen, or I could be reading too much into it. Time will tell, but the longer it is until Tizen launches, the harder it will be for it to succeed.
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