Business Insider noted last week that "While Samsung's Galaxy phones rose to prominence thanks to the Android ecosystem, the company has been planning for years to ditch the platform for its own operating system as soon as it can." That little informative nugget was discovered in an internal document produced at the Apple-Samsung patent infringement trial last week. In February we posted a report titled "Samsung Embarrassingly Drops the Ball on Tizen," which outlined Samsung's failure to keep NTT Docomo from bailing on Tizen as 2014 kicked in. Today, a Samsung executive boldly announced that Samsung will in fact be introducing two new Tizen smartphone late next quarter.
In a new report published today, Yoon said Samsung was working to introduce at least two smartphones running on its own Tizen operating system, a major step in the market leader's bid to break out of the Android universe.
Samsung wants to build its own ecosystem around Tizen to reduce its heavy reliance on Google Inc's Android, which powers majority of the South Korean firm's mobile devices.
It also wants to open its own stream of revenue from sales of third-party apps and services on its devices, challenging the mobile software duopoly of Android and Apple's iOS.
But expectations for the platform have sharply weakened after a series of delays in product launches. A global patent cross-licensing agreement between Samsung and Google in January further dampened prospects for a Tizen phone, as the deal was seen by some as locking Samsung deeper into Android.
Yoon said that although Android "still needs to be our main business", Tizen or Windows would be used for markets that Android could not address.
"We had tried to launch (Tizen) with DoCoMo and Orange ... but couldn't because of poor market conditions [Reality: DoCoMo adopted Apple's iPhone. That was the "market condition."]. We have changed our strategy and will release the phones in a few countries where we can do well," he said, adding that he thought Tizen would have to account for up to 15 percent of Samsung's total smartphone shipments to become a successful platform.
According to Reuters, Samsung's first Tizen phone, which will launch around the end of the second quarter, would be a high-end model and the second would mainly be aimed at the middle of the market to drive volume growth.
Yes, Samsung and Google, Frenemies at last. What took so long?
Perhaps one day the proverb of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," may prove to be true. Time will tell, but a three or four-way race in the mobile OS space would be an interesting and welcomed development. With Nokia coming on strong later this year with Windows OS, things will begin to heat up in the mobile OS space. Yet in context, Samsung themselves only see Tizen as an experimental niche at the moment. So let's not get too ahead of the game just yet.
But let's be honest, a successful Tizen smartphone will do greater damage to Android than to Apple's iPhone market hands down. The vast majority of Samsung's current Android fans will likely upgrade to Samsung's Tizen based smartphones on their next upgrade. On that note, many Apple fans are secretly cheering Samsung's Tizen project on.