Samsung shelves Tizen smartphone launch

Samsung shelves Tizen smartphone launch

28 JUL 2014

Samsung said it would postpone the launch of its anticipated Tizen-powered Z smartphone in Russia, following recent reports which indicated it may not reach the market.

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the company confirmed the launch had been “postponed”, due to the need to “further enhance the Tizen ecosystem.” It did not reveal how long this postponement would last – or indeed if the device will be launched at all.

Reports earlier this month suggested that the device had been expected to make an appearance at a developer event in Moscow, but that did not take place. At this point, WSJ reported that Samsung had said the device would appear, but “when we can offer our users the fullest portfolio of applications.”

This is just the latest in a long line of delays for the fledgling platform, of which Samsung is the most high profile vendor backer. A previous launch by NTT Docomo was axed at the last minute due to question marks over whether the small Japanese market could support a third smartphone platform alongside iOS and Android, while Orange was also in the frame at one point.

As far as support for Tizen is concerned, Samsung is in a tricky position. While the concept of having its own smartphone platform that is beyond the control of Google is appealing, it also has a large and lucrative device unit building Android devices – and the beancounters are unlikely to do anything to risk this.

In addition, having a smartphone platform alone is not enough: a compelling apps and content ecosystem is also needed. And while Apple and Google have the benefit of a large user base for their platforms, drawing support from a number of developers and media companies, there are no users in place for Tizen smartphones – making it difficult to attract support.

With Russia being the only confirmed market for Z, it appears that this device may not now reach the market commercially at all – any future effort is likely to require updated hardware to remain competitive.

The South Korean vendor has also been pushing Tizen for devices such as smartwatches and connected cameras. In the former category, it has even made available an update migrating some Android-powered devices to Tizen, citing a wider supporting app catalogue.

But this is likely to change following the commercial availability of devices powered by Google’s wearables platform, Android Wear, from a set of vendors – including Samsung.

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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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