A number of tech analysts are calling Samsung’s Tizen OS “doomed” from its very beginning, seeing that Tizen must compete with the beast that is called Android OS as well as iOS and Windows OS, the top three dominant operating systems in the world right now.
And, with this presupposition, if Tizen is doomed, then, following the logic, Samsung’s Z smartphone should be doomed also. Correct?
Well, the case isn’t so clear cut – with either Tizen or Samsung’s Z smartphone. Samsung’s been dying for a chance to “do its thing,” represent the very best of its own innovations within Android. Starting with at least the Galaxy S3 from two years ago, Samsung’s continued to add its own original software features to its Android smartphones, showing up Google, Sony, LG, and HTC’s lackluster software offerings in the process. And the company’s software has won either praise or condemnation from Samsung and Android users. Still, that hasn’t deterred Samsung.
Until the recent Google-Samsung agreement right after Mobile World Congress 2014 this past February. We can see the results of the agreement with Samsung’s Galaxy S5. It’s a little too conservative from Samsung’s norm, eliminating much of the usual camera software and other features we’ve come to expect from the company. It doesn’t mean that Google’s extinguished Samsung’s software prowess, but the Android owner has put out some of the fire.
In comes Tizen, Samsung’s answer to Google’s recent tactics to dominate and control Android as if it were Apple’s iOS. Samsung’s had plans to bring its first Tizen OS smartphone to market this year. Called the Z, the Tizen smartphone was expected to appear first in March of this year – but Japanese carrier NTT Docomo pulled out of the deal. Now, it seems as if Samsung’s Tizen “Z” smartphone has been delayed a second time.
Two weeks ago, Samsung promised that the Z would appear for Tizen developers at a Moscow conference, but Samsung decided to stick to showing off prototypes with no official model for release. The reason for Samsung’s delay of the Tizen smartphone release seems to be apps, according to both Samsung and Tizen developers.
At the Moscow conference, a Samsung executive told the crowd, “the most obvious advantage [of developing for the Tizen phone] is that you’ll be at the top in a half empty store on a decent premium device.” Some developers, such as MedM’s CEO Denis Khitrov, believe that being at the top of an empty app store is a good thing: “Samsung is a great marketing force. The fact that the apps store may be half-empty now may be discouraging to some, but I see it as an opportunity.”
Apps are the new problem that emerges whenever a new smartphone is announced. The next question, immediately after “what’s the name of the new phone?” is “will it have lots of apps?”. Some individuals desire numerous apps for their smartphone experience, delighting more in the downloads than the manufacturer’s in-built software. Just peruse a few forums across the Web, and you’ll see that most consumers deem in-built software as “bloatware” along with carrier-specific apps. Apps in app stores, on the other hand, are a window of opportunity.
At the same time, however, we’re not so quick to say that the Tizen OS or Z smartphone experience are doomed. We’d like to think that they’re simply “delayed,” put off for some time due to preparations. Samsung may be a giant marketing force, but it’s also a company that isn’t afraid to experiment, and some Android users (Samsung users, no doubt) like that about the company.
At a time when smartphone competitions are becoming all about whether a smartphone has a glass, metal, wood or leather premium build, Samsung continues to place the emphasis on where the smartphone experience matters most: software. The company’s software has its fans, and Tizen will certainly have its fans as well.
As for some of us here at Inferse, if Tizen includes Air View, Air Gesture, the supposed new eye scanner that’ll arrive in the Galaxy Note 4, and other cool software features, then count us in. We want Google to take some cues from Samsung in building its software experience. We don’t want Android OEMs to water down their camera software as LG has done in the G3 experience.
To declare Samsung, Tizen, and the Z smartphone doomed because Tizen and the Z are in their infancy is to halt innovation. Was Android not in a period of infancy at one point? Is Android Wear, Google’s wearables platform, not in infancy now? Tizen may have only 50 apps, for example, but Google’s hardly got over 25 for its wearable platform. If Tizen’s a failed experiment, then we should call the same “gloom and doom” message over Android Wear and call it a day.
No, Tizen may be new, and it may not have a lot of apps, but it’s only delayed. Anyone who wants to promote their apps would be crazy to not join with Tizen and Samsung. And, in the end, all it’ll take is enough customers to buy Tizen smartphones before developers and app companies start to pay attention. In the mobile market, as with business in general, money talks.