Samsung Z3 tipped to be a modestly mid-range Tizen handset

Now that the basic Samsung Z1 with Tizen is available for under $100, it may be time for a higher priced, more capable handset.

I'll give Samsung credit. Even as Apple iOS and Google Android dominate smartphones around the world, the company is sticking to its guns by trying to use Tizen software on handsets.

The Samsung Z1 launched earlier this year as the first Tizen phone, and after many delays, as a sub-$100 phone for India and Bangladesh. Now, a more powerful follow-up is rumored for the second half of this year.

Tizen Experts said on Wednesday that the Samsung Z3 will more akin to a mid-range handset with several improvements over the budget-based Z1. A modern Snapdragon 410 dual-core chip clocked at 1.2 GHz is expected to power the Z3. That's a nice step up in potential performance as the 64-bit Snapdragon 410 is built on a Cortex-A53 chip, not the older A7 architecture used in the Z1.

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Also expected is a boost in memory, which should allow for more programs running simultaneously with less lag: Look for 1 GB of RAM says Tizen Experts. Internal storage will reportedly be expanded to 8 GB, or double that of the existing model.

The Samsung Z1 uses a low-resolution 4-inch display with an 800 x 480 display. On the Z3, Samsung is tipped to use a larger, 5-inch screen although there's no information on the resolution. I'd expect a boost to at least a 720p display though; 800 x 480 would look awful on a larger screen.

Camera sensors ought to see a boost too. Improving on the 3.1 megapixel sensor of the Z1, Samsung's next Tizen handset is expected to have a 5 megapixel rear camera.

Compared to flagship phones with 16 or more megapixels, that's not too exciting. But with these hardware components, the Z3 wouldn't be priced remotely close to a flagship phone. And that's OK. The next Tizen phone doesn't have to be a top-notch model that competes against the iPhone, Google Nexus 6 or Samsung's own Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Instead, Samsung is taking a slow -- perhaps too slow -- approach towards establishing Tizen as both a platform and brand, working its way up from a basic handset to one with more capabilities so that it can reduce its reliance on Android.

The company faces a long road ahead but it makes sense to build up from the base. Will it succeed with a methodical expansion of Tizen? That's another question entirely but with low-cost Android phones in the mix, odds are against it.

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