Samsung to launch at least two Tizen smartphones in Q2

Samsung to launch at least two Tizen smartphones in Q2

Summary: Tizen for smartphones is down but not out with Samsung planning to launch a pair of handsets in the next quarter.

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The appearance of Tizen on smartphones might have been delayed, but the OS is not dead, according to Samsung, which plans to launch at least two handsets running the operating system within months.

Despite the recent decision by Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo to shelve its planned release of a Samsung Tizen smartphone due to "poor market conditions", Samsung is pressing ahead with the Linux-based platform that it's been nurturing as an alternative to Google's Android.

"We had tried to launch [Tizen] with DoCoMo and Orange... but couldn't because of poor market conditions. We have changed our strategy and will release the phones in a few countries where we can do well," Yoon Han-kil, Samsung’s senior vice president of product strategy, told Reuters.

To be a success though, Yoon said Tizen would need to account for 15 percent of Samsung's total shipments. In 2013 that would have meant selling around 46 million Tizen smartphone — roughly the same number of devices that Huawei, Lenovo or LG sold last year.

Yoon however said Android still needs to be its main business, while Windows and Tizen would be used to address markets that the Google OS couldn't.

Last year, Samsung execs repeatedly confirmed the company's intent to launch high-end Tizen phones; however, its NTT DoCoMo Tizen phone was put on ice earlier this year.  Shortly after locking in a deal with Apple, the telco told media that the Japanese market was not ready for support three operating systems. Images of what's alleged to be the device have since leaked online

Samsung has separately used Tizen for its wearables range, with the OS powering both its Gear smartwatches and Gear 2 Neo, replacing the Android OS used on its earlier smartwatches. The line was released ahead of Google's launch of its new Android Wear platform, which puts the natural language processing efforts seen in Google Now at the fore of its wearables platform.

Despite this, Yoon said it plans to launch an Android smartwatch later this year too.

Samsung's promotion of Tizen is not just about its ongoing cold war with Google. The explosion of manufacturers releasing connected objects and wearables is an attempt by hardware firms to look for new markets amid concerns about the future of the high-end smartphone market.

"The slowing high-end market is indeed a concern for most manufacturers," Yoon said.

"But we're trying out a lot of new things like wearables, convergence with home devices and cars. I think there'll be synergies here some day and it'll eventually help us increase premium product sales longer term."

Read more on Tizen

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Linux, Samsung

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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