A new Korean report states that Samsung is going to try a breakaway move from Google with its own operating system and perhaps a new Samsung Store for online shoppers. Now that Samsung Electronics has emerged as a global smartphone leader, it must correct its one glaring weakness: Software. Samsung is reported about to introduce its very own operating system at the Mobile World Congress at the end of this month. Samsung will showcase a high-end phone running on the new OS to a closed group of clients.
The new OS is based on Tizen, which is an operating system designed for smartphones, tablets, in vehicle infotainment systems and Smart TVs. The Tizen project is governed by a Technical Steering Group composed on Intel and Samsung. Its main components are the Linux kernel, the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries and the WebKit runtime.
Samsung admires Apple's dual strength which lies in both its hardware innovation and the fact that it controls the whole distribution chain. At the moment, Samsung relies on Google's Android. It is an open-sourced OS, but developers need trademark certificates from the American Internet giant. The Play Store is a closed-sourced application owned by Google, with developers for apps paying their dues not to Samsung, but Google.
There is also growing concern that Google may convert Android into a more closed OS like that of Apple to increase revenue. As Samsung doesn't have control over the total experience as does Apple, it is pinning its hopes on Tizen to play catch-up. "It's hard to admit publically but Samsung is envious of Apple's ecosystem," said an industry official, declining to be named. "Samsung obviously wants to control both the hardware and software for its lineup as that will increase margins.
Samsung officially announced that it plans to release a Tizen phone within this year.
To get the conversation going prior to their show in Barcelona, David Eun Samsung's Executive Vice President and Head of Open Innovation Center (OIC) at Samsung Electronics in Silicon Valley sat down with Kara Swisher earlier this week at their AllThingsD conference to announce Samsung's move into software and software services. It's an interesting interview and if you have the time, you should check out what Samsung is currently involved in and how they'll be rapidly expanding and doubling down on many software initiatives. You could also check out John Paczkowski's report as well for a quicker recap.
Samsung's team pushed very hard in 2012 to get their "market share" numbers up to sail past Apple's iPhone in order to ride their new found momentum into 2013 and into all-new territory with a new operating system. That will sting Google's Android whose only star player is Samsung. That hard loss may very well end up being Intel's win and boy would they love to stick it to Apple. Count on Intel to bend over backwards to make that happen over the next few years.
In the end, time will tell how this all plays out but it will certainly keep most of the blogosphere buzzing for the rest of the year until this new smartphone and OS debuts. Samsung is learning how to build momentum for their fan base which is an old trick of Apple's. If anything, one has to admit that Samsung learns very quickly.