Could Tizen just be a “Plan B” of sorts for Samsung?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
As our own Alex reported today, Samsung is rumored to start launching several phones this year running on Tizen, which is another open sourced platform (much like our discussions yesterday regarding Ubuntu) which resides within the Linux Foundation but is governed by both Samsung and Intel. Tizen is already used in technology we use today such as smart TVs and in-vehicle infotainment devices. At just one year old, Tizen is going to start showing up in smartphones in the Eastern market. Samsung has had great success, especially in this past year, powering their handsets with Android. So why are they entertaining the thought of switching to something different?
It almost looks as if Samsung is looking at developing a “Plan B” for the company. Google seems to be giving off the vibe lately that they’re ready to start making their own hardware to run on their own platform, such as with their rumored “Phone X” (although rumors say that ‘Google and Motorola’ are pairing up – but wait, doesn’t Google own Motorola? How scandalous) which would be a huge blow to Samsung (among other manufacturers) regardless, but even more so if they don’t have anything else to rely on; hence the progression of Tizen.
Yesterday I talked about what would become of Windows Phone without Nokia. Nokia is, essentially, Windows Phone. In the same sense, Samsung is currently the face of Android. While TouchWiz has come a long way in just a few short years, I’m still not exactly thrilled with the custom skin that Samsung places over Android on its devices. To me, Samsung hasn’t done that great of a job when it comes to writing its own software. Isn’t that why they joined forces with Google? So why are they actively trying to start a new operating system if it weren’t for impending threat of Google software running on Google hardware?
As of right now, Samsung already has their own mobile operating system in the Eastern part of the world called Bada, which runs on the Wave line of devices (similar to Samsung’s Android powered Galaxy devices). They have mentioned merging Bada with Tizen, but so far it hasn’t been confirmed. If Tizen is received well in that regional market, I imagine Samsung will either ditch Bada or find a way to merge it with it with Tizen.
Tizen could be something that would spread worldwide if it sees enough success in Eastern markets. In order for this success to carry over to other parts of the world, they’re going to have to make sure they have a couple of key features seen in today’s most successful operating systems. You need a large and diverse application selection, an interface that’s relatively easy to navigate and easy on the eyes, and competitive specs within the hardware. The key there is the "large and diverse application selection", which takes time - and a lot of it - to build.
All in all, I don’t think Samsung is intending to actually branch out from Android by choice so much as they're just doomsday prepping. I think working on Tizen is a smart move. There is a small threat that Google might just keep all their Android-y goodness to themselves, and Samsung is just preparing itself for the worst. Samsung’s success currently rests in the hands of another company – why wouldn’t you make a backup in case everything falls through?
What do you think of this move from Samsung? Do you think they actually plan on moving away from Android, or are just prepping for the worst? Let me know your thoughts!