Huawei lukewarm on Tizen potential - Mobile World Live

Huawei lukewarm on Tizen potential

26 AUG 2014

Huawei has poured cold water on the potential of the Samsung-backed Tizen OS, despite the fact it still has board-level representation guiding the development of the platform.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Richard Yu, head of the company’s consumer business group, said it has “no plans” to use Tizen in commercial devices.

“Some telecom carriers are pushing us to design Tizen phones but I say no. In the past we had a team to do research on Tizen, but I cancelled it. We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful,” the outspoken executive said.

According to the Tizen Association’s homepage, Peixin Hou, Huawei’s software head, is still a director, alongside representatives from players including Intel, Orange, NTT Docomo, Vodafone and Fujitsu among others.

Tizen faces a similar challenge to earlier efforts such as MeeGo and, in its later years, Symbian, in that it is controlled by a key smartphone player.

While efforts have been taken to promote open governance, the perception of Tizen remains that it is a tool for Samsung to break Google’s stranglehold on the Android device ecosystem – meaning that other vendors do not have the same motivation to support it.

And despite the best efforts of the smartphone number one, it is not proving easy to bring Tizen devices to market – not least because of the need to create an appealing content and services ecosystem to make devices a tempting proposition when compared with Android.

But with iOS, Android and even Microsoft’s Windows Phone already offering significant installed bases, these platforms are unsurprisingly a more appealing target for developers.

Samsung had announced the launch of a device (called Z) in the Russian market this year, but it was subsequently shelved. An earlier reported launch with NTT Docomo in Japan was also pulled, as was a planned 2013 debut in association with Orange.

Huawei’s Yu was similarly circumspect on the opportunities for Windows Phone. “Even for Windows Phone it’s difficult to be successful”, he told WSJ.

This comes despite Microsoft and, previously, Nokia, both investing heavily in the platform.

While Microsoft’s ownership of the former Nokia devices business could have some impact on other vendor’s attitudes to the platform, this is far from the behemoth it was when Nokia was leading development of MeeGo and Symbian.

Indeed, HTC gave the platform a significant boost last week when it announced a Windows Phone version of its flagship M8, the first high-profile device to use the platform outside of Nokia for some time.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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