Technophile

Samsung's new OS thrust

R Dinakaran | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on October 28, 2015

BL29_TECH_TIZEN

The Korean electronics giant is betting big on the open source Tizen platform

Not many outside the tech world know that there is an operating system called Tizen and that the open source OS is backed by Samsung.

Tizen has been in the works since 2011 and now, a range of devices from Samsung’s stable are powered by the OS. The first Tizen-based product was launched just over a year ago. In fact, Samsung’s first smartwatch, the Gear, launched with Android, but the OS was switched to Tizen in its later versions.

In the wings

The latest Tizen-based device to be launched in India is the Z3 mobile. And soon, the Korean tech giant will be launching Gear S2, the latest version of its smartwatch, which will also be powered by Tizen.

Tizen is also at the heart of Samsung’s thrust in the IoT (Internet of Things) space. Everything from mobiles, smartwatches and smart TVs, to vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines and in-vehicle infotainment systems can run on Tizen.

While the OS in appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines is not really ‘visible’ for the consumer, it forms the fundamental base on which the user experience is built in the case of mobiles or smart watches. Will Samsung be able to take on Android or Apple’s iOS devices with Tizen?

The recently launched Z3 is a low-end phone and may not really reflect the capabilities of Tizen. It is possible that the Tizen’s potential and power may not have been fully exploited by the Z3. Samsung believes the OS to be as capable as - or even bettering - Android or iOS. Integration of multiple devices and platforms with its own ecosystem could be at the heart of Samsung’s new thrust with Tizen. Recently, the company announced that its premium smart TVs, including the latest SUHD TV, are being powered by Tizen.

Growth plan

One bold move by Samsung has been to make Tizen the OS for its smartwatches - switching from Android, an OS platform that it was already extremely familiar with. Samsung’s decision looks to have paid off with the Gear S2 getting rave pre-launch reviews.

The question that remains is: Will the Gear S2 still be able to take on Android Wear? Will Tizen phones rack up the same popularity levels as its Android phones? At a recent interaction, Samsung officials said they were bullish on Tizen. They say that the Tizen app ecosystem is growing rapidly, with Samsung giving it a push with Tizen App Challenge and developer conferences across the globe.

Embracing the competition

Though it is pushing ahead with Tizen, Samsung also seems to have realised that it would be wrong to keep Tizen totally insulated from Android. So Samsung is taking Android along by building compatibility into the system. For instance, the Gear S2 is also compatible with Android phones, while the Z3 can run Android apps too.

With Tizen, Samsung has tried to get rid of many of the user issues found in Android. For instance, the Z3 mobile launched recently runs on just 1 GB RAM and the UI of Tizen mobiles ensures that even first-time user of a smartphone will find it easy to use. Tizen aims to allow consumers “to quickly complete everyday tasks with just a few taps and finger swipes”.

The Gear S2 is yet to be released and it remains to be seen whether Samsung will be able to make inroads into the wearables market dominated by Android.

But with Samsung embracing Tizen wholeheartedly both for mobile, IoT and appliances platforms, it looks like it is all geared up to make Tizen a success.

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Published on October 28, 2015
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