Samsung will soon take its frenemy relationship with Google and Android to the next level. The company reportedly plans to launch its first Tizen smartphone early next year and while its efforts with this new platform will initially be local to the Far East, Samsung undoubtedly hopes it will grow into something more — and reinforcements will definitely help. Headed by both Samsung and Intel, the Tizen Association announced this week that it has added 36 new partners from “all segments of the mobile and connected device ecosystems” to help bolster the platform moving forward. New additions to the Tizen camp include eBay, Konami, McAfee, Panasonic, Sharp and TrendMicro, and the Association’s full press release follows below. More →
Samsung and Android. Android and Samsung. Where would one be without the other? It looks like some day we might actually find out. It won’t be anytime soon of course, but Samsung is hard at work developing its own mobile platform with Intel’s help and according to a new report, the first smartphones powered by the new platform could debut as soon as this coming January. After numerous delays, a Samsung executive confirmed recently that the company will not be launching a Tizen phone this year, and it was unclear when a handset might finally launch. Now, a report from South Korea’s Digital Daily suggests that Samsung’s first Tizen phone will debut in the first quarter next year, possibly in January. Tizen as an incredibly steep mountain to climb if it hopes to put a dent in Android’s global market share lead but if there’s one electronics company that is in a position to give a rival platform a fighting chance, it’s certainly Samsung.
Like other vendors, Samsung has spent a great deal of resources and a tremendous amount of money making Android its own. Google’s popular platform is the most widely used mobile operating system on the planet by a huge margin, but we’re getting to a point where vendors’ Android phones barely resemble each other because of all these customizations. Building new features on top of Android will only take a company so far, however, and Samsung has long had plans to hedge its Android bet and launch smartphones powered by a new version of its own operating system. But after the debut of Samsung’s first Tizen smartphone was delayed from early 2013 to late 2013, Korean-language RBMen reports Samsung executives have stated that Samsung will not launch a Tizen phone this year. Samsung is seemingly still planning to take on Android with new Tizen phones next year though, and it will be interesting to see if the company really plans to put its muscle behind the new platform this time around.
Samsung probably won’t ditch Android anytime soon but the company has nonetheless developed an alternative platform called Tizen for use in tablets and smartphones. Per Engadget, we now have an idea of what Tizen will look like in tablet form as Tizen build kit developer Systena has released a Tizen-based developer tablet that includes a 10.1 inch display with a resolution of a 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, a quad-core 1.4 GHz ARM processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The developer kit is only being sold in Japan for now and Engadget says that Systena still hasn’t released any pricing information yet so it’s doubtful that you’ll see the neighborhood kids using it anytime soon.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A smartphone vendor plans to launch a new smartphone platform that isn’t really just a smartphone platform, but rather an operating system that will some day power everything from phones and tablets to cameras and cars. Palm and HP tried it with webOS, and that didn’t work out very well. BlackBerry is currently trying it with BlackBerry 10, and its U.S. market share plummeted to just 1.1% last quarter. But that won’t stop Samsung, which is next in line to launch a new OS that it hopes will decrease its dependence on Android and someday power anything and everything that connects to the Internet. More →
The market hasn’t exactly been kind to operating systems that aren’t iOS or Android, which is why Microsoft has been smartly offering app developers large sums of cash to create apps for its Windows Phone 8 platform. Now CNET reports that Samsung is pursuing a similar strategy when it comes to Tizen, the new operating system that the company is developing to hedge its investments in Google’s Android operating system. Specifically, CNET says that Samsung is teaming with Intel to hold a Tizen app development challenge that will give as much as $200,000 in prize money to individual developers and a grand total of $4 million in prize money. Developers must submit their apps by November 1st and winners will be announced in December.
Samsung’s plan to branch out beyond Android has reportedly hit a small snag. A new report from Korean website iNews24 claims that Samsung’s first smartphone based on its Tizen mobile operating system has been pushed back to the fourth quarter this year, or roughly two months after the company had originally hoped to bring its first Tizen phone to market. SamMobile notes that Samsung seems to be waiting for its app ecosystem to improve a bit more before taking Tizen live, which is understandable given the struggles many smaller platforms have had in attracting developers. At least one analyst has projected that Tizen devices could have a significant impact in the Asian market where mobile carriers are searching for alternative platforms to iOS and Android.
The race to be the world’s fifth-most popular mobile operating system may not be glamorous but Samsung will still be happy to know that its upcoming Tizen OS is likely to crush rivals Ubuntu and Firefox. ABI Research analyst Joshua Flood said this week that “Tizen’s strong backing from Intel and Samsung will enable it to quickly outpace its other Linux mobile OS challengers.” And while iOS and Android likely have nothing to fear from Tizen in the United States, Flood thinks that “mobile network operators, particularly in Asia, have been looking for other options” and could see Tizen as a legitimate third alternative to the world’s two most popular mobile platforms.
There has been a great deal of confusion among carriers and retailers regarding Samsung’s (005930) strangely tepid Windows Phone support over the past few months. Samsung’s supposed flagship Windows Phone device, the ATIV S, debuted in Europe in December and sank without a trace. The ATIV was simply the Galaxy S III with very minor tweaks and the Windows Phone OS slapped on. It now looks like the ATIV S will never launch in India. The U.S. launch of the ATIV Odyssey at Verizon (VZ) has been a complete disaster; the phone received no marketing support and is not even listed among the top 20 contract models at Verizon Wireless. More →
The dust hasn’t even settled from Samsung’s (005930) larger-than-life Galaxy S 4 debut, but the company is already talking about its future plans. Samsung’s EVP of mobile Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday night that the company intends to release another new flagship smartphone in the third quarter this year — but it won’t run Android. “The Tizen phone will be out in August or September, and this will be in the high-end category,” Lee told Bloomberg. “The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications.” Chase Perrin, a Tizen Association representative, added that there will be thousands of apps available when the first Tizen smartphone launches.
There is little doubt that Samsung (005930) is exploring a world where it relies on Android far less than it does today. According to Hillside Partners analyst Rory Maher, however, there is hardly any chance Samsung will begin to stray from Android in favor of its upcoming Tizen platform. In a note picked up by Barron’s, Maher said that like Bada, Tizen is likely a regional play that will receive only a fraction of the attention Samsung gives to Android. More →
Google’s (GOOG) white-hot Android operating system will be the center of Samsung’s (005930) business for years to come. For the Samsung we know today, Android is a perfect match. It provides a solid foundation and a host of terrific functions, and it gives Samsung the freedom to drop its own software and solutions on top. For the Samsung of the future, though, this might not be the best possible model. More →
Samsung (005930) is the world’s top Android smartphone vendor by a staggering margin. Aside from LG (066570), which managed a small $20 million profit from its mobile division last quarter, no other global Android vendor can figure out how to make money selling Android phones. Meanwhile, Samsung posted a $6 billion profit on $47.6 billion in sales in the third quarter, thanks largely to record smartphone shipments and a massive marketing budget. Even as industry watchers turn sour on Apple, Samsung is seen steamrolling into 2013 and its stock is up nearly 50% on the year while Apple (AAPL) shares continue to fall from a record high hit in September. As unstoppable as Samsung appears right now, one key question remains: Is Samsung driving Android’s success or is Android driving Samsung’s success? Starting in 2013, we may finally begin to find out. More →