NTT Docomo is reported to have “shelved indefinitely” plans to launch smartphones powered by Tizen, marking a significant blow for the fledgling platform.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the operator has said that Japan’s smartphone market is not growing quickly enough to support a third platform in addition to Android and iOS.
Docomo began sales of Apple’s iPhone late last year, and its portfolio is dominated by Android devices. It denied that the launch of the iPhone had led to it reviewing its Tizen efforts.
The report said that the Japanese operator will continued to be involved in the Tizen project. It has board-level representation within Tizen Association.
Tizen, which is backed by Samsung and Intel, has been surrounded by mixed messages for some months, with launches originally planned for 2013 by Samsung, Orange and Docomo not taking place.
It was reported that the debut of commercial products has been pushed back to February 2014, probably in line with Mobile World Congress.
It has been widely observed that there is a significant risk associated with the launch of the first Tizen products, due to the comparative maturity of the Android device ecosystem.
If the initial products fail to deliver a compelling customer experience, sales will suffer, and as Microsoft and Nokia will certainly testify with their Windows Phone efforts, it takes time to build momentum with developers, operators and indeed consumers.