Will Samsung abandon Android for Tizen?

There is some characteristic attachment that people develop to shapes, sounds, colour and generally appearances they have associated with for years. This attachment made me stop watching KTN when they changed their introduction tune and dropped the tag line “Your channel, your choice”. The new tune and tag line doesn’t give me the thrill I used to have whenever the 7 O’clock news bulletin started.

So when I heard that Samsung is planning to launch its own OS in the name of Tizen my mind tried to relate it to Samsung only to find discord. But the discord in my mind aside, Samsung is secretly (not the right word) promoting Tizen as the new OS it wants its smartphones, refrigerators, cars?, TVs and the other Samsung electronic devices to run on.

The release dates of Samsung devices running on Tizen have been rumored since last year as mid 2012, late 2012, early 2013, mid 2013, late 2013 to now early 2014. It is not clear whether early 2014 is the sure date we should expect Samsung devices running on Tizen to flood the market as it is just yesterday when Samsung held a Tizen Conference in South Korea aimed at attracting developers who will create Apps for the Tizen Ecosystem. During the conference, Samsung promised to give out $4 million cash to the creators of the best Tizen apps.

One of the reasons Samsung could be shying away from Android is that it has not effectively promoted its own services (messaging, music, etc) on Android. Google on the other hand has been able to gain immensely from Samsung from Apps downloads on Play Store and from Google Search services. To make any significant gains from Apps, Samsung could be seeing that promoting its own Ecosystem similar to what Apple is doing with iOS is the best way forward,

“With only hardware, its influence is limited,” said Kang Yeen-kyu, an associate research fellow at state-run Korea Information Society Development Institute. “Samsung’s goal is to establish an ecosystem centered on Samsung.”

But the new OS might not be good for Samsung. One reason Nokia and BlackBerry have failed to catch up with Android and iOS devices is the limited Apps in their Windows and BlackBerry Ecosystems respectively. Samsung should ensure that important Apps currently used by its customers across the global are foremost available on Tizen. This could mean that Tizen would still import the key services available on Android like the Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Now that have made Android users loyal to the platform. These, however, would beat the reasons for Samsung to opt out of Android.

For detailed description and history of Tizen see this article on Wikipedia. For other factors that could be making Samsung consider Tizen, see this other article on Yahoo News.


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