Beyond Android: Samsung may show first Tizen smartphone at MWC 2014

by: Bogdan PetrovanNovember 11, 2013


Thanks to Android, Samsung is at the top of the mobile industry, controlling vast swaths of the global market and raking in billions in profits every quarter. But lucrative as it may be, the dependence on Android is worrying Samsung’s leaders, who’ve long ago realized that controlling software, not just hardware, is crucial for the future of the Korean giant.

Enter Tizen, the Linux-based operating system developed by a consortium of companies led by Intel, and above all, Samsung. The development of Tizen, which may eventually power everything from smartwatches to automobiles, has been sluggish, but now the OS is finally approaching commercial debut.

As reported by the Korea Herald, Samsung announced that the first device running Tizen is already out on the market. Rather than the smartphone that everyone expected, the device is actually a smart camera called NX300M, which launched in South Korea in early October. Choi Jong-deok, Samsung’s vice president for software, confirmed the news during the first Tizen Developers Summit, held this week in Seoul.

The first Tizen smartphone will launch in the first months of 2014

The first Tizen smartphone will launch in the first months of 2014, sources told Korea Herald. Japanese carrier NTT Docomo, a supporter of Tizen, will be among the first operators to carry a Tizen phone. Docomo has been pushing for a release in late 2013, but that didn’t pan out, and now the most plausible launch window is February-March 2014. That means there’s a good chance we’ll see the first Tizen smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, at the end of February.

To get Tizen off the ground, Samsung also plans to release smart TVs powered by the new OS soon after the debut of the first-gen Tizen smartphones. The ultimate goal is to create a widespread platform that can compete with Android for the attention of customers and developers.

Samsung’s Choi also revealed the company’s plans for Tizen 3.0, due towards the end of next year. The upcoming OS version will support 64-bit processors from Intel and ARM, will be able to use more memory, and will feature a 3D UI framework, among other improvements.

Despite rumors that Tizen is dead or at least dead in the water, the potential Android competitor seems to be very much alive. Will it pose a serious threat to Android? It’s hard to say, but if any industry player can get a brand new operating system of the ground, it’s Samsung. The Korean conglomerate has the infrastructure, sales channels, financial and technological resources to make a winner out of Tizen.

For sure, Android will not go away, because Samsung’s fortunes are too closely tied to Google’s OS, but that’s what Tizen is for: loosening the ties that keep Samsung in Google’s sphere of influence. If and when those ties become weak enough, anything becomes possible.



  • dodz

    this could be good, imagine samsung brewing its own OS, which means they can optimise it better with their own hardware, just like ios is to iphone, but it aint gonna stop the billion devices powered by google’s android. =)

    • NeedName

      Considering those billion devices have an 18 month OS life, and two year contract life . . . the mobile market isn’t as stable as the desktop was when MS took over — 3 years per OS version and generally upgradeable at least one more, thus 6 years.

  • Harry


    • Cal Rankin

      and that seems a lot like Touchwiz, don’t you think? It certainly is appealing, and Samsung does have the power to push developers to develop apps for Tizen, mostly because Android is massively popular, and Samsung is massively popular within Android.

  • Tanner Hoyt

    I can see Tizen as a potential threat. The lack of apps is an issue, however, since it can run HTML apps, I don’t see that being an issue for long. Also, the average person doesn’t see Samsung’s Galaxy phones as “Android” phones. They see them as “Galaxy” phones. So if Samsung came out with the Galaxy S6 running Tizen, people would just buy it and have no idea that it’s not running Android.

    • Data

      I partially agree but I think people will notice the lack of apps and Google services on expensive phones like the Galaxy S & Note range. Just look at WP – billions spent on marketing by MS and strong brand (Nokia) but sales have been mediocre and mostly low end. Tizen might just work if they use it in lower end phones.

    • NeedName

      You are generally correct, IMHO. And considering Tizen is also open-source I think it will get more love than people think — I’m sure there are more OEMs out there that would like to buck Google’s control.

      If Sammy does push it very hard they might do some damage — many I know that have Galaxy devices don’t use many apps — HOWEVER, and this is a very big however, they need a free gps turn by turn navigation app — that’s one thing everyone I know wants in their smartphones these days, including myself.

      Nonetheless, competition is good. At the very least it will cause the goog to think a little.

      Though I doubt sammy will every update any of their Tizen devices LOL

    • Shanos

      An S6 running tizen with openmobile ACL would have the best of both worlds, the ability to run a native 64bit os that has been designed from the ground upwards to work on samsungs handset (think integration of software/hardware on a similar level to that of iOS) running on their showcase hardware with the option to run android software whilst its own app store has time to grow and strengthen.

      I for one would have a piece of that pie! how about you?!acl-for-tizen/ciet

    • Richard Sequeira

      You are sort of wrong on how consumers view Android phones as “Galaxy Phones”, some of the consumers actually know what Android is. They see it as a mobile OS that competes against Apple.

      • Tanner Hoyt

        I know that SOME consumers know the difference, but not the average person. Unfortunately, the world isn’t full of tech enthusiasts like us :P

    • On a Clear Day

      I think you are underestimating peoples’ intelligence when you say, “So if Samsung came out with the Galaxy S6 running Tizen, people would just buy it and have no idea that it’s not running Android.”

      Sure you might get some people who blindly and foolishly buy a phone because of its brand name or “mystique” – because they don’t want to be troubled to think too much or at all – but people are constantly growing in terms of their sophistication re things techo – witness the fall in Apple’s stock and fortunes – and just because Samsung wants to fortify its position by becoming proprietary and self-sufficient does not mean “they will come”.

    • Cal Rankin

      Tizen also has Android app compatibility. Therefore, future Samsung handsets could probably have a GApps package flashed in rather easily, and most people probably wouldn’t know the difference at all

    • CDCH

      They said lack of apps was an issue when Android first came out. You can see that had no effect on growth.

  • Jaun Lombard

    Here is the list of members. Big players…

    • Gator352

      So far, intel is the only American company onboard and that’s because intel keeps getting their ass handed to them by Qualcomm and Arm. They want so bad to bake a pie that they are willing to try anything….including putting together a conglomeration of Figgy Puddings….
      I see Tizen as a failure in the high end market if Android continues to grow and mature….but in the same breath, I don’t like where android is going either….

      • NeedName

        I agree with you. . . not so happy with some of the things goog is going to do, especially the tight integration of everything into hangouts.

        With that said, I pretty much consider high-end android devices to be Samsung, as HTC and others just don’t sell enough to compete, even though they sell some pretty high end stuff. Therefore, as sammy goes so goes the mobile os??? I don’t know, but no one thought Android would be at 80% a few years ago.

        • Gator352

          Samsung would have to get dominance with Tizen to even break even against Android. Not going to happen any time soon. Samsung (and HTC) make great hardware…but the hardware is only as good as it’s software.

          • NeedName

            I’m not sure how dominant Sammy would need Tizen to be to break even. Unlike Google, Sammy isn’t footing the whole bill for Tizen. Who knows how much Intel is throwing at this OS just to get their chips into the market. . .

            Nonetheless, I think this open-source mobile competition is good and it’s an interesting development. Would rather have Tizen than WP. . .

        • SSDROiD

          Stock Android has several things I don’t like, such as the forced Google search bar at the top of the screen and yes, the integration into Hangouts. I want to be in control, not for someone else to control my mobile experience. I’m not liking their direction at all, I was expecting a lot more from 4.4 KitKat and I was disappointed by not getting what I wanted.

          • Tiago Azevedo

            What would you like to see in Android 4.4 KitKat Google didn’t give you?

  • backtothefuture

    On this site, there are lots of android fan boys who would never leave android. However, if Tizen is good, I would drop Android in a heartbeat. (Right now I use only Nexus and my next laptop will be a Chromebook or Ubuntu.) Also, no more Windows for me…even though I happen to work at MSFT, ironically.

    See this article for ideas about how Google could go the way of MySpace someday:

    • Gator352

      Forbes is a liberal foundation for monetization, not technology. They base their findings off stocks and market corrections by profits, not upward trending use by actual people and longevity. I trust Forbes as much as I do Obama….and that ain’t much.

    • NeedName

      Tech can change quickly leaving companies behind. . . one can never know what will come next, but I don’t see goog going anywhere for at least ten years.

  • ichuck7

    I don’t like Samsung’s version or favor of android. However, They are innovative and willing to take chances where others are not. (example : original Galaxy Note)

  • Gator352

    Samsung wants to be like Apple. Period. They want a closed wall where they control everything from apps to telling you what you need. I for one will drop Samsung if they go this route. But this will create choice spurring competition amongst the big players….which isn’t a bad thing.

    • Jaun Lombard

      Its based on the same platform as Android…thus it is open…LG is also a investor in Tizen!

      • Gator352

        It’s based off of Linux which is open source but it doesn’t mean it can’t be locked down. Samsung apparently wants away from Google. Do you think that they are going to allow Most or all of Googles services? No. Samsung wants you to use THIER services. LG sees it as a way to make more money with more choice.

        • NeedName

          Sammy would have to fork it to “lock it down.”

          • Gator352

            How’s that? It would be just like stock android except it would be Tizen. One OS tied to Samsung apps and services. If they close the Samsung app store barring LG and others from using it (except on Samsung devices) then it would be “forked”…like Kindle devices…that’s an example of “forking” :)

          • NeedName

            I took your comment as saying that Sammy would “lock down” the OS. . .

            Sure, NO doubt at all they’ll have their own store, but I don’t think they will exclude anyone from it — like Google, they will want all devices to come to their store and spend money so they get a cut. Yet, you never know they might try to exclude others.

            Now the question one would have to ask themselves — do you trust Google with your info or Sammy lol…..

          • Gator352

            LOL! Exactly!

        • Jaun Lombard

          I realy dont hope you are correct, because articles like this makes me very happy! I will drop Android in seconds for a Tizen Phone with HERE. Tizen will support Samsung Apps to a greater extend, plus not all of them are bad…plus you will still have all you Google apps plus some awesome Nokia apps and updates will roll out faster to Samsung devices.

          i want to agree with you but i am hoping it is not the case

          • Gator352

            I guarantee you that you will NOT have all of the Google apps. The Play Store will be no more….on Sammy devices if they go this route.

          • NeedName

            but will you be able to sideload the play store?

            Google would have to actively block Tizen and with 80% market share that could be seen as a monopoly move. . . might be interesting.

          • Gator352

            Not sure about side loading the Play Store…I doubt it. But I agree with you on the monopoly move which would be fun to watch….

          • Phoniac

            To use Play Store you need google services. And you get that only on android. Even if you sideload playstore it wont work.

          • Cal Rankin

            Tizen has Android app compatibility. I don’t see a huge problem with getting google apps onto the device. It has been done with the Kindle Fires, and, unlike Amazon’s proprietary fork of Android, Tizen is open-sourced.

            The Samsung app store will take little to have the store itself or the apps run on Tizen.

        • CDCH

          “Samsung wants you to use THIER services.”

          If they do the updates on the OS than they should get the money from the services.

      • Cal Rankin

        webOS is Linux-based. It was proprietary until it wasn’t selling, so HP open-sourced it.

    • CDCH

      “They want a closed wall”

      Hardly! They are sick of getting sued by Apple for Google’s copyright infringements. On top of that, Google is getting most of the ad revenue on Samsung’s phones.
      That is going to change real quick. I would suggest owners of Google stock watch this OS very closely, because if Samsung releases it soon you can kiss Google’s huge ad revenue and high flying stock prices good buy!
      Samsung and others are tired of supporting Google’s profits.

  • Miguel Bleau

    Also Huawei is on board and some other Japanese oem.

    Plus some carriers, not to mention it’s not just a mobile fone OS

  • Jason Yuen

    As much as we all love android, it does need some competition to let it grow into something even better. iOS is a different game. It is a financial fight which has nothing to do with innovation. If Tizen can steal some market share away from Android, it will only stimulate competition as well as increase security for both by making them less attractive malware targets. Monopoly is not healthy for consumer benefit.

  • Harry

    I think the biggest gripe manufacturers have had is the money that flows in to google with the entire environment around google play store. Now that google also releases its own devices that cover about 90% of the use cases (I am thinking of tablets in addition to the Nexus 5) at cost (or lower), I am sure manufacturers are beginning to feel their margins coming crashing down. That might be one reason for Samsung (and even HTC and LG, for that matter) to move towards a different solution. A place where they a portion of the booty. That might be good for us as consumers as well because it will result in lower cost devices.

    • abazigal

      Most OEMs (save for Samsung) are already scrapping by on razor-thin margins. They stick with Android because it’s free and really, what choice is there?

      • Harry

        That’s the point of Tizen, it appears. It will probably be free for manufacturers as part of the alliance. I am also assuming, they get a cut from the store front (which they will probably not open up to competitors).

        The analogy is something like where HP decides to allow people to use its printer technology for free. However, they are the only ones that make a profit from the sale of ink (assuming you cannot go to a staples to refill for this argument). So it enables HP to sell at a subsidy and compete with other manufacturers on price significantly better because of the ecosystem that is available exclusively to them. Other manufacturers, however, will need to make a profit from the sale of the printer itself.

        Windows itself only charges about 23 bucks for a Windows license. While it does cut into profit margins, that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for manufacturers.

  • iTriune

    Google will offer the Google Play store to them and make them dependent on that. Development isn’t an easy thing to garner. Ask Microsoft with WP.

    • SSDROiD

      To be fair, I believe Microsoft had a difficult launch with Windows Phone 8 largely due to the users’ reaction to Windows 8. People in general don’t like Windows 8 on their computers/tablets, and I think that has largely affected the sales of WP.

      • iTriune

        Yes, with Win 8, but Windows Phone has been around before W8. Satisfaction survey’s would suggest that WP is loved by the people that adapt to the platform and even with that, they still couldn’t garner development as rapid as they hoped.

  • naman sharma

    even if this becomes popular still android would be android……. samsung wants to beat google and go ahead of it thats why they are doing all this


    I’m a huge Samsung fan, and I own the Note 3. I love what Samsung has done with their devices. However, if this means that their devices will be completely different with Tizen, then I’d have to reconsider my future smartphones. I will, however, probably purchase one of the first devices running Tizen to see if Samsung does anything good when both hardware and software are their responsibility. I have high expectations, and I’m afraid those expectations may not be met.

    One thing is for sure, if this means we will get rid of the Google Play Store, I’ll smile and thank Samsung. I hate almost everything about the Play Store, the only thing it’s got going for it is the design. The rest of it is buggy, slow, offers no settings and just makes me never want to download another app.

    • Acaa Aca

      they already had that responsibility with BADA. now my phone sits at home collecting dust. hope TIZEN would be better.

  • Ruz

    Samsung has forgotten that they were no where in the race before the android birth in mobile phone market.. thanks to android as they came as a savior for the company to recognize Samsung as a brand for smartphones

    • Jaun Lombard

      Thanx to Samsung…Android became a household name…63% market share…

      • abazigal

        I think people know only Touchwiz, not stock Android.

  • onur

    More competition is good, mean consumers are better off :D, maybe this will stop the Current Duopoly between IOS and Android

  • Cao Meo

    I will believe in Tizen when I see there are key services that can compare with Google. So far MS has failed despite having spent billions after billions dollars.

    Samsung is very shrewd company and I don’t believe they will invest heavily on Tizen.

    Make no mistake, I support all open source OSes. I just don’t believe.

  • John Mortimer

    There beat move is to offer 2 ver of the gs5 like they did this year with the 8 cores gs4 and sell both in regions or only 1 ver , like I be thinking the USA and UK will not get it

  • Vijay

    Will Samsung continue to push Android Updates? Will they force users to switch to Tizen?
    What about the current Samsung Android Customers?

  • Cal Rankin

    I have never been a big fan of Tizen, mostly because it’s Samsung attempting to Apple-ify itself with, ironically, an open-sourced OS.
    that said, I think that it could be an interesting OS, because it’s open-sourced, but it’s also ugly, just like Touchwiz.
    That said, it will probably sell, because Samsung has a reputation.

    • Bryan Z

      It will sell but not as well as Samsung using Android… and I agree with you samsung is trying to be more like Apple. Kinda glad they are leaving Android alone (hopefully)

      • Cal Rankin

        Ideally, in the future Samsung will sell Android and Tizen devices. Hopefully, Samsung would make phones where one could choose whether to have Android or Tizen installed. Ideally, there would be a dual-boot option, and I may be willing to pay extra for that.

        • Ruz

          paying extra for dual boot?

          • Cal Rankin

            if it’s not excessive. I would pay more for (obviously) a larger amount of storage, and the necessary formatting for two OSes that can be updated on one partition without affecting the other. It’s still two OSes that Samsung has to support, and support costs money (not that they could’t afford doing it for free). I would like to have Android on one side and either Ubuntu or Tizen on the other. Moreover, I would like to go through an OTA update on one OS and still be able to boot into the other aftwerward. They would have to format the internal storage diferently, especially if most media was stored on a common partition accessed by both OSes.

  • Bryan Z

    This is where the Android fans and the Samsung fans divorce and start attacking each other… well thats the internet. From a business point of view this is a great move for samsung, and should totally go after it. Dependency on google can be bad for the market besides… I’m tired of only having to pick from either an Android or iOS device… (Windows doesn’t count)

  • Jake

    There are ways of wasting money…

  • whatsa2

    I think it is a move to a more closed system ….
    If you are a droid fan I think Jolla will be more open than Samsungs Tizen
    and you will get all your droid apps plus all the qt versions which will be natively faster.
    sooner we get 80% cross platform apps the better.

    then its just the hammer you like
    and you can bang away all day