Hot on the heels of the launch of the Android-powered flagship Galaxy S4 unveiling in New York City, Samsung has confirmed that its upcoming smartphone based on the Tizen mobile OS will debut sometime in August or September this year.
Tizen, which is developed as a partnership between Samsung, Intel, and a number of partners after the MeeGo OS was abandoned by Intel’s partner Nokia. MeeGo itself was formed as partnership when Intel merged its Moblin OS with Nokia’s Maemo OS. As a result, Tizen is intended to be a strong competitor to Google’s Android operating system and is designed to be a scalable open-sourced operating system. Samsung has shown strong backing of Tizen by folding its own Bada OS into Tizen.
“The Tizen phone will be out in August or September, and this will be in the high-end category,” executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business Lee Young Hee said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications.”
In recent months, it’s been speculated that Samsung may be hedging its bet with Tizen as a viable alternative to Android should its relationship with Google deteriorate. As Android and iOS are rising in popularity, carriers and manufacturers are starting to look at alternatives in case Google or Apple gain significance dominance in the mobile space. As the leading manufacturer of Android smartphones and tablets with its Galaxy brand, Samsung may be feeling uneasy in the space as Google is entering the hardware business with its Nexus line, the recent Motorola Mobility acquisition, and a new self-made Chromebook Pixel.
With a dual OS strategy, it’s also been speculated that visually there may not be much difference between a Samsung Tizen device and a Samsung Galaxy Android smartphone as Samsung will skin both devices and create custom user experience layers to enhance the experience. On Android, it has created a number of software packages and enhancements to make its Galaxy device feel more like Samsung than Android, a strategy that is thus far working as customers seem to be seeking out Samsung devices.
With Bada merged into Tizen, the platform may stand a good chance at succeeding as apps designed for Bada should work for Tizen.
Originally, a Samsung Tizen phone was rumored for a late 2012 launch, but it has thus far missed that deadline.
The end result for this year will be at least three flagship smartphone products for Samsung–an Android Galaxy S4 flagship, an updated Galaxy Note phablet to debut later this year, and a Tizen flagship.