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Software release suggests Samsung could soon launch a smartphone running Tizen

Loek Essers | Sept. 27, 2012
Tizen 2.0, the open-source smartphone operating system, is now available as an alpha release with an accompanying Software Development Kit (SDK), the Tizen project announced on Tuesday. The release lends credence to rumors that project member Samsung Electronics is planning to launch a version of its Galaxy S3 smartphone running Tizen instead of Google's Android.

The end-of-year holiday season, the most important sales period for mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple, is coming up, he said. "Samsung needs to focus on its current portfolio before Christmas."

The first products running Tizen will probably be launched early next year, said analyst Geoff Blaber of CCS Insight. Tizen is a strategic operating system for Samsung, he said. The mobile phone manufacturer is fast becoming a platform company and it is highly undesirable for a big player like that to rely so much on Google's Android operating system as it does now, he added.

But Tizen is a long-term effort for Samsung and won't replace Android anytime soon, Blaber said. "They are not going to drop Android over night. Tizen is still a highly immature operating system."

Samsung will need to attract developer interest to make worthwhile applications for Tizen, and needs to interest mobile phone operators to sell smartphones running the new operating system, said Jeronimo. Besides that, Tizen is not known by customers, he added. "Most operators currently concentrate on Windows Phone," he said. Another problem is that Tizen will never get anywhere if Samsung is the only manufacturer making Tizen devices, he said.

To make Tizen work, the project needs to be directed by one vendor and not by more, said Jeronimo. Android is a good example of this, it works because Google is the one big power that gives direction to the project.

Tizen, however, is led by Samsung and Intel who both have different interests, Jeronimo said. "Intel wants to have its chips used in Tizen devices," said Jeronimo, "but Samsung uses Qualcomm and Snapdragon chips." Differences between the two companies have to be resolved if Tizen wants to succeed. "One vendor needs to set the agenda," he said, adding that he knew know successful case were more vendors tried to develop a mobile OS together.

 

 

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