Stop worrying about Tizen

by: Nate SwannerFebruary 28, 2013

Tizen Logo genie

There has been so much chatter lately about Tizen, the new operating system from Samsung (among others). It’s a lot like Android, and has support from Samsung. This is a recipe for disaster, right? Samsung… with a new OS?! We’re doomed!

No, we’re not. Tizen has a lot of benefits and cool features, so we are naturally uneasy by it. The inconvenient truth is that it probably won’t make a dent in your Android life. Tizen simply isn’t built for dominance, or really even competition, for most of us.

What is Tizen?

Tizen is, like Android, an open source operating system designed to be used as a base OS for others to build on top of. The goal is for Tizen to be on all manner of devices, in all types of use settings. Tablets, phones, cars, refrigerators… you name it, Tizen wants in on it.

Tizen has a longer history than Android, with other OS’s like Bada being rolled into the Tizen project. A continuation of the LiMo project, Tizen is supported by companies like Samsung wishing to have a unified OS which they had more control over. The new OS is governed by the Tizen Association, a group of 12 companies whose vision is, in part, to provide “an innovative platform offering a high level of flexibility in service selection and deployment.”

An open source platform, a group of partners steering the direction of the OS, and a dream of it being on all kinds of silly devices that don’t need it. Sounds like Android and the Open Handset Alliance. Tizen really is barking up the Android tree, aren’t they?

Samsung Logo aa 600px 2

The concern about Tizen

Tizen has a lot going for it. Samsung is perhaps the biggest supporter, joined by the likes of Sprint and Intel, among others. There have been two official releases of the OS, and anything open source will get some attention. This is cause for attention, sure, but concern?

Open Source

Anything open source is a logical threat to Android. The Open Handset Alliance is meant to keep partners honest, and it does a good job if it. Even when it comes to an open source platform, some control is necessary. For Tizen, however, partners are in control, calling into question the true “open” nature of it. Tizen may simply be an act of rebellion by manufacturers against the Android-iOS dominance, but is that a wise move?


Much of the benefits that are found in Tizen are due to Samsung. The music service? Samsung. Cloud storage? All Samsung, baby. This could mean a number of things, though it definitely suggests a desire on Samsung’s part to break away from Android. Samsung seems keen to strike out on their own. Admirable… but silly, and perhaps dangerous.

Android has given Samsung a large part of the success they enjoy now. Samsung may feel they’ve learned enough from Android to make a go of Tizen, but why? It’s pretty clear that Tizen, even though it has a longer lineage than Android, is copying it pretty bluntly. If there was something new that Tizen could offer, we’d be interested… but a copycat OS? No thanks.


Tizen has a ton of big support, like Intel, Sprint, Panasonic… even the up-and-coming Huawei is on board. That seems like a lot of muscle, and it isn’t even everyone in the picture! Orange has recently pledged support, and NCC DoCoMo is on board. Vodafone, a large European carrier, is also in the mix. With so much support from such big-name companies, it’s almost hard to imagine Tizen failing.


Keep calm and Android on

Man, Tizen has a lot going for it! All kinds of support, cool services, and it’s so much like Android! It seems daunting, but Tizen is nothing to worry about. For a system that has been in the works longer than Android, and isn’t even ready yet, it’s a huge gamble that may not pay off for all involved. Then again, Tizen may have more time than we think.


With all the coverage given to Tizen, one thing is rarely mentioned: it’s meant for the Asian market. Asia represents a blossoming market for mobile, and Tizen is meant to seize a measure of control overseas. The Asian mobile market is set for a widespread expansion, and Tizen has many companies centered in that market as partners. This market has (historically) been slow to grow, and cautious about current mobile technology. There are many cultural and political obstacles to navigate, so having partners dedicated to the Asian market may be great for Tizen, and their adoption.

Samsung 2.0

Samsung gives Tizen its character, but of what character is Samsung? The company we once loved as the darling of Android is slowly turning their back to us. We wait patiently for new devices like the Galaxy S4, because many of us are ingrained in their TouchWiz system. Slowly, Samsung is pulling away from Android by sneakily adopting a whole new operating system. While TouchWiz is built on top of Android, it is increasingly proprietary in nature.

In many ways, Samsung is designing themselves out of favor with many. The further away from center you get, the more polarizing you become. We can handle skins, even some proprietary functionality, but drifting too far apart is not helping anyone. All this “Samsung only” stuff like S-Beam and Multi-Screen is not doing them any favors in the long run.

The audience

The worldwide market share of mobile operating systems presents the biggest problem. Tizen may be focussed on the Asian market, but with Orange signing on to carry Tizen devices in France, they’ve taken a step toward the world stage. It may seem wise to get your device in as many markets as possible, but is it the right time for Tizen? Tizen may be worth a curious glance, but the fact is that Android still dominates the worldwide market. There is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon, if ever.

The numbers tell a story of the Android juggernaut steamrolling the competition, and that’s an accurate portrayal. The reasonable wiggle room for Tizen to establish any kind of worldwide presence is about 3%, and could go upwards of 6% if other systems fail. That’s a lot of dominoes falling in the correct sequence, and just doesn’t seem likely. It may end up doing well in Asia, but the world is just not going to buy in.

smartphone os world map


Tizen is long in the tooth, and short on time. The time for Tizen was about 4 years ago, when Android was just starting to get itself together. Now, between Android and iOS, the world is pretty well heeled in a two-party system. Tizen has been presented to us, but what we saw at the Mobile World Conference was slow, buggy, and just not ready for prime time. All this time spent developing… what, exactly?

Samsung is not Google

Google has Android, and operates it as a service. Much of what makes Android great are those other sweet, sweet Google services like Maps or the Play Store. Tizen presents a different way for mobile, but definitely not a better one.

Google is massive, and has the bankroll to build amazing services. Buildings chock full of dedicated, smart people making our lives easier and better is a hard thing to challenge, or even duplicate. Samsung has a long way to go to even match that, should they want to go completely solo.

Sure, Google can make their services available to Tizen… but they can also decide against it. We’ve seen that Google is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with rivals on making services available. While Google usually errs on the side of caution, making the service available in one form or another, Tizen may be a different story. Samsung would be wise to tread lightly with Google, unlike they have with others.


The endgame

Tizen is a novel idea, but poorly implemented. The headlines cause a bit of concern, but digging a little deeper reveals an emptiness to the new OS. It copies Android, but not very well. It has a set of services, mostly via Samsung, but those aren’t great. Tizen has been in development for over two years, but isn’t close to being a finished product.

We’re all concerned about Android being toppled. We shouldn’t be, though. As much muscle as Tizen has, Android has Google backing it up. If you are impressed by a conglomerate of hardware manufacturers and service providers joining forces to take on the world, consider the opposition. Apple does all that Tizen aims to, only better. Google just purchased Motorola, giving them as much control as the rebel Tizen Alliance. Should you worry? Yes… about Key Lime Pie, Google Glass, and the Motorola X. We have too much great stuff going on in the Android universe to concern ourselves with some shooting star passing through.

  • Mike Bastable

    Tizen will eventually be good, sometime soon Samsung will shock us all by launching a high end unusual phone using Tizen. To test the waters, and test Google. Especially if the X phone kicks ass. Samsung believes it can be to Asia, what Apple is to the US: that requires a proprietary OS / ecosystem. The OS wars have only just begun….the next wars will be for the Asian/ .Indian/ s.American markets…..they are gonna be huge.
    So iOS, Android, windows, Tizen, Ubuntu, Firefox are all fine tuning new strategies. This is gonna get interesting.
    My prediction Apple cheaper and still big, Google focus on Glass. Android Dev slows more Motorola focus. Tizen huge. Rest fail.

  • Best feature of Tizen: the happy smoking genie.

    • gregosor78

      Even that genie is a copy of the old Microsoft Office Assistant
      Damn copycat Samsung :-p

      • Don’t see how Samsung copies anything, looking at my Note 2 and it doesn’t look like any other phone hardware or software sorry

  • Greg Cardall

    Just like anything else, I think competition is always a good thing, especially for us meager end-users. Just like Apple isn’t making Android obsolete (or vice-versa), I highly doubt Tizen or even the Ubuntu OS is going to make anyone else obsolete. To even break into the market, it has to be really good – and to be a mainstay, it needs to be even better. Tizen might do really well in the Asian markets, and who knows, may even creep into the International market to a degree, but unless Apple and Google completely fudge future releases and piss off millions of users they’ll be around for quite some time, and remain the big dogs on the playground.

    My main disagreement with this article, however, is the every-so-slight demonizing of Samsung. While I do agree that they introduce proprietary innovations, those innovations are killer, IMO. The S-pen and S-Beam? I couldn’t live without those on my amazing Galaxy Note 2 phab-tastic phone! Isolating itself or not, Samsung has a pretty dang good grasp on what users would want in a smartphone. If Google doesn’t like Samsung’s innovations, so be it – but that doesn’t stop Samsung from being, currently, the #1 Android provider in the world.

  • Magneira

    What really matters here is this: Google is in the position Microsoft was in the browser and os war but it will not lose because it keeps innovating, contrary to Microsoft and even apple lately. So Google has dominance + constant innovation, there is no losing for no one

  • williamworlde

    Ah, pontification…Wonderful things, opinions. Everyone has one, right or wrong, absurd or not. And that, is my opinion on this article. Hmmm…..

  • APai

    It’s taken 4 years for android to come to this stage for android,so, if anything, all the new challengers are all long term competitors. just like how chrome is to windows. they will all start off as niche devices, maybe mid range or low end of mobile devices, or they might find some other corner on TV or something else.

    but competition is good, as it keeps everyone on their toes. just do not let the market slide like how we are trapped with microsoft’s offerings on the desktop for the OS/ office. I just hope companies like microsoft goto hell for their years of monopoly, abusive behavior, price gouging, illegal practices, FUDing, milking their customers dry, etc etc .

  • Agreed, Tizen is going nowhere without some serious improvement. It’s still years behind Android, not to mention there’s practically no decent apps on the operating system. If anything I’d be more concerned about Firefox and Ubuntu. Maybe even Bada which could run on feature phones and smartphones.

  • John Smith

    why should we be worried by more competition to Android? fair competition is always a good thing, and Tizen is open source too.

    What worries me is Tizen does not have much innovation and only copies Android and some other OSes. But can we expect Samsung to excel in software?

  • MasterMuffin

    From all the coming Operating systems, I like Tizen the least! Jolla, Ubuntu, even firefox seems better!

  • saleensuper

    Why should Tizen cause me “a bit of concern” with regards to Android? I’m a rational consumer and I’d pick tizen over android or any other OS the day it will give me the best value for my money.
    I’m not religiously bound to any OS. Currently, I use android because it serves me the best. The day it won’t or another OS would serve me in a better way, I’ll switch for sure!
    And as already said by other, competition is a good thing of consumers. I doubt we would see android competing with iOS if there was no competition among android players.

  • Gayan Kalinga

    i love this article…

  • Bj

    Android is a copy of IOS idi*ts

    • mrband

      And iOS is a copy of UNIX, idiot.

      • Stuart Brown

        Jobs said great artists steal, like he and gates did from xerox, mouse, GUI, networking, object orientation, first gates buys pc dos, later uses Tim Berners Lee’s WWW, Netscape’s concepts for explorer, building on Pentagon’s DARPA net. In between Gates pinches WordPerfect, lotus spreadsheet, Borland Database concepts for Office, Novell’s network server concepts for Windows Server. Jobs purloins Microsoft’s tablet and smartphone concepts, both having started from palm’s PDA ideas, Microsoft sues Google for using similar techniques on a Linux base, at a reasonable price. Jobs sues for ridiculous concepts like rounded rectangles he had pinched largely from European design houses like Braun electric shavers.

        At unreasonably userus rates, to try to destroy his parts suppliers, on ludicrously low research investments by Apple, after all they’re just a packaging company for simplifying other companies work, in a walled garden with other group’s hardware. Like ARM chip designs, Samsung screens, Qualcomm, Motorola, phone transciever chip designs. Now Sammy sees how effective Amazon was in pinching Android and blocking Google’s Play, services, advertising and says gimme some too. Goog’s a wicked company for giving free OS’s, services, apps etc., making Sammy a $US 200 billion company, Sammy knows how to show gratitude.

        I just like goog for giving me a quad core tablet with a dozen graphics cores, gig o RAM, 720p screen, with a good OS, 32GB flash for a pittance of $A 300. Soon they’ll offer me something with 72 graphics cores, 1080p, 2.5GB of RAM, twice as powerful CPU, for only slightly more, now I see why Samsung wants to destroy them, their hardware is half Sammy’s price gouge. By the by, I’m trying to install MS’s SharePoint Server 2013 (dip elect comp tech net admin spec,) I like AMD too, just flapping my gums for amusement.

  • nishantsirohi123

    ever wondered why Samsung is doing ti-zen
    or why they did bada

    because they can

    it is that “plan-B” that every corporate giant has(if they can afford)

    nothing wrong with this. technology never stops, development never stops. Those who play wrong are left behind. I remember reading an article that said that the south Korean government asked LG and Samsung both to not to rely too much on Android.

    So if something happens, or rather something bad happens. Samsung won’t be “doomed” like many other companies.

    Blackberry did the same when they realized that they are and will fall behind in the smartphone war, which is why they acquired QNX long ago. which is why the playbook was launched despite its shortcomings. the BB-10 is their plan-b giving fruit.
    this attitude of conspiracy theories is what iSheep are known for because they are left in a walled garden with no options or choices, convinced that what they have inside is the best, which has been proven over and over again that is not the case. if things go wrong, they will be doomed.

  • poizons

    Where there is a war…
    Tony Stark become rich by selling weapons

  • ATInsider

    BlackBerry’s QNX take out Tizen, Android, iOS and WP8 by far.In that respect, Tizen is dead in the water IMO.

  • Chico13

    so far I’m not really worried about this new OS the way I see it Samsung is trying to offer an alternative to using Google because of the ban in China think about it if you were a multi-billion dollar corporation and could not sell any of your devices in the world’s most populated country because of certain aspects of it was banned from their servers what would you do

  • JUICE213

    This felt a lot like just Google/Android propaganda. I was hoping a bit more numbers and date rather than just speculations.