Samsung has “slowed” the development of its Tizen platform, which is being co-developed with Intel, with speculation that a shift could benefit rival Android device vendors, reports said.
According to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes – which has variable success with its stories – with Android dominating the global smartphone market and leading platforms in terms of “popularity, maturity and ecosystem”, there is a significant risk for Samsung in switching at a point when the market is already incredibly competitive.
In addition to its smartphones, Samsung has also adopted Android tablets, connected cameras and other products.
Earlier this month, CNET reported that Samsung head Jong-kyun Shin had said that the company saw Tizen as a way to drive convergence across its consumer electronics lines, but also into other sectors such as automotive.
The platform has also been seen as a way for Samsung to reduce its reliance on Google, which not only creates the Android platform but is also behind many of the core services featured in the Samsung smartphone line.
And via its Google Play store, Google also has strong links with the developer community, although Samsung also has its own developer programme intended to bolster its relationship with these partners.
But generating momentum for a new platform is difficult, even when the companies behind it include the number one mobile phone maker. Until devices reach the market, and there is a significant user base, Tizen will always be low on the priority list for developers when compared to its more established rivals.
And while HTLM5 is a central part of the Tizen developer story, making it easier to port apps to the platform, there will still need to be a certain amount of work to ensure that apps work with core device features – realistically, the user experience cannot be any worse than those of Android apps in order to compete.
While Samsung has the scale to make Tizen an appealing proposition on its own, the company clearly would not look to move away from Android overnight – meaning Tizen would look very much like a second-tier alternative until it started to work its way through the vendor’s portfolio.
But until the supporting Tizen apps and content ecosystem provided a credible alternative to Android, it would be foolhardy of Samsung to migrate too rapidly, due to the danger of producing lower quality products that would be less appealing to consumers.
Samsung previously said it planned to offer devices Tizen before the end of the year, which was followed by reports that this could take place as early as August/September – meaning an announcement would be due around now.
However, in recent weeks, it was suggested that nothing is likely to take place until the fourth quarter – which is still in line with Samsung’s original comments.