Samsung’s Tizen Smartphones May Challenge Android and iOS Soon

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Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has already started taking steps to distance itself some from Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system with introduction of Tizen in its second Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Now it’s clear that Samsung intends to take at least two more big steps away from Android.

For those that don’t know, Tizen is Samsung’s proprietary operating system. The Korean electronics powerhouse had it developed a couple of years ago, but didn’t deploy it until just recently. Like Android, it was developed from Linux, reports Gizmodo. It may not turn out to be very different from Android in that regard, and since Samsung won’t want to deter customers with an unfamiliar operating system to learn, it will likely continue to look pretty similar to the versions of Android that have been seen on previous Samsung devices.

One major difference between Tizen and Android — and iOS and Windows Phone at that — is that it will not focus on applications that are specially coded and created to run on the operating system. Instead, Tizen will focus HTML5 Web apps, according to Gizmodo. One of the more important things for a new mobile operating system to have is a deep library of apps available, and with Google and Apple dominating in that territory, it would be hard for Samsung to step into the game with Tizen unless it had a trick up its sleeve. A focus on supporting HTML5 might be just that trick. Developers wouldn’t have to work to make their apps specifically for Tizen because of HTML5, so Samsung could quickly build up a library of apps without needing to woo developers.

The biggest news about Tizen is that Samsung plans to release two full smartphones that will run the operating system. Reuters reports that Samsung will be releasing these two phones by the end of the second quarter. One will target the high-end market, while the second other will fit more in the middle tier of smartphones.

Tizen could eventually find itself in even more types of products, as the senior vice president of Samsung’s product strategy team, Yoon Han-kil, said in an interview with Reuters that the company is “trying out a lot of new things like wearables, convergence with home devices and cars.”

However, since a lot of Samsung’s success came with the help of Google’s Android operating system, there’s not much chance that Samsung will abandon it. Yoon said in the interview that Android was a necessary part of Samsung’s main business. In January, Samsung also made a global patent cross-licensing deal with Google that didn’t do anything to add distance between the two companies, but rather brought them closer together. Even Samsung’s step away from Android by incorporating Tizen into the second edition of the Galaxy Gear will be somewhat counteracted when Samsung releases another smartwatch running on Android Wear later this year.

As the second quarter rolls on, we should get to see whether Samsung’s Tizen operating system will be another bottom contender in the mobile market, joining the ranks of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Blackberry (NASDAQ:BBRY), or become a major competitor on even footing with iOS and Android, standing on the shoulders of the Samsung brand’s global success in the mobile market.

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