Just before Google I/O 2017, Samsung held their Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco, where a number of announcements were made around the launch of Tizen 4.0.

With an apparent surge in app development, Samsung has been able to provide Tizen in its own devices ranging from the Gear S3 smartwatch to TVs and a fridge. But mobile Tizen has been, thus far, relegated to budget phones. The latest of these is a sub-$100 device made initially for India and it is called the Samsung Z4.

There is no pretense to the Z4 – it looks and feels like a bona fide budget phone. A typical plastic build all around is broken up by the tactile home button (flanked by capacitive keys) and certain backings that may have some texture to them.

Its size also exudes frugality, as the display sports a 480 x 800 resolution in a 4.5-inch size. Though we had very few expectations going into the Z4, the display seemed to get the job done adequately for users that are really looking for a budget device. Basically, you get what you pay for, but you also get a decent experience.

The Samsung Z4 seems designed for fairly simple communication and productivity tasks. But the Spreadtrum processor that powers the device performed fairly smoothly through the different apps we opened up – even a port of Asphalt 8 was on the phone, and Kris played through a full round before saying it wasn’t all bad.

The rest of the specifications are on the level of early Android One devices that targeted some of the same emerging markets. Only 1 GB of RAM is included and the power specs are basically antiquated now, as the Z4 sports a micro-USB port and a 2050 mAh unit.

The cameras are both 5MP, and though we are certain that pictures will be just decent at best, we were impressed with the amount of modes that Samsung included. If nothing else, there can be some fun to be had when taking those rather low resolution photos or videos.

It is obvious that the Tizen ecosystem is still pretty young, so applications are pretty far and few between. Samsung claims that there are a ton of developers ready to bring version 4.0 to a whole new level, but recent reports about Tizen’s security holes could keep some bigger names from making the port leap.

Glympse, a popular GPS app, was one of the main speakers during their keynote and announced its new features made available for the television version of the operating system. A mobile site loaded, not an app, when we opened YouTube, and this shouldn’t be surprising considering the size of the Tizen ecosystem right now. But if Tizen were to get on more high-profile devices, the absence of major apps like YouTube would be a significant adjustment and significant drawback on the daily.

Though there are plans to bring the Samsung Z4 to other places, its current presence will be limited to India. The price in India roughly translates to about $100 in the United States, which makes this phone a sure competitor to entry-level Android phones that are geared for emerging areas of the world.

With very little by the way of processing requirements, Tizen has looked smooth and, at least, fairly consistent when it comes to the most basic of tasks, despite the lower-end nature of the Z4’s hardware. We’ll see where Samsung takes their slowly growing Android alternative in the future.

Joshua Vergara
Writer, blogger, and videographer - Josh is a former support technician that learned much about technology by fixing everyone else's. On the side, he wrote and performed spoken word, maintained his own personal blogs, and began his own video podcast. Now, he's here at Android Authority looking to put it all together!
  • Eric Walker

    Is it me or does Tizen’s UI look like an outdated version of TouchWiz? Also, what’s it with cheap Indian smartphones not being able to get over micro USB? Otherwise, it’s great to hear we have some competition in the mobile industry since Microsoft clearly doesn’t​ care anymore and Firefox and Ubuntu dropped out.

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz| ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Since Tizen apps are generally written in C, Tizen and its apps should scream on modern phone hardware. The native nature would be equivalent to iOS and its apps.

    Too bad it’s not ready for prime time yet. It would blow away Android in terms of performance.

    • Tr3ple

      I dare Samsung to release a flagship phone with tizen only

      • I’am freelancing through the internet, accomplishing fundamental gigs which requires from you PC or simply laptop and also internet access and I couldn’t be cheerful… Half a year have passed when i started off this and i acquired until now in total 36 thousand dollars… Basically i benefit around 80 bucks/hour and work for three to four h every day.And appreciable point about this job opportunity is that you are able to decide when to do the job by yourself and for how long and you are compensated in the end of each and every week.>>>> NU.PE/32

      • daftrok

        That is their dream but they need proper application support of at least the top 10,000 to release this with any chance.

    • Dusty

      Yeah, just like iOS screams on modern phone hardware for .03 milliseconds while Android decompiles an app and then there’s no difference until Android has to open the app again. Man, that’s screaming fast. Like you said too bad it isn’t ready for prime time, I’d ditch my Pixel!

      • tiger

        Except when Android has to do any heavy lifting…then it stutters and lags or takes MINUTES for something that takes seconds to do on iPhone!

  • Abhyuday Krishna

    tizen flagship please

  • Eoin Mc Namara

    The phone gives me Galaxy S2 vibes…

  • Andrew Nelson

    is it me or does tizen look kind of ugly

    • Jeffrey Pantaleon

      Looks ugly as hell to me. Looks like an outdated Android UI with TouchWiz.

  • Cesar Meguines Concepcion III

    the future for Samsung is to have Tizen on a flagship
    becoming in essence a Apple to iPhone scenario
    to control Hardware and Software