Samsung readies first Tizen phone launch for end of Q2

The company's first handset will be a high-end model, while the second will be offered at a midrange price tag, according to a new report.

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A Samsung Tizen-based smartphone. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung's own open-source mobile operating system, Tizen, will soon make its way to store shelves.

The consumer electronics giant told Reuters on Wednesday that its first Tizen-based smartphone will launch toward the end of the second quarter. The handset will be a high-end offering that could compete with flagship smartphones running Android. A midrange device will launch at some point after that.

Samsung has high hopes for Tizen. The operating system, which is open-source but has Android elements that the company licenses from Google, is designed to be Samsung's way of breaking free of its heavy reliance on Android. Handsets running the operating system, however, have been delayed a few times, robbing the effort of some momentum.

Android is by far the most important mobile OS for Samsung's bottom line, but the company has made it clear that it doesn't want to rely so heavily on Google's operating system for its own growth. Speaking to Reuters, Samsung senior vice president Yoon Hankil said that Tizen will be considered a success if it can account for 15 percent of the company's smartphone sales.

Samsung also sells Windows Phone handsets.

Yoon wouldn't provide many details on the Tizen launch. There's no word yet on what Tizen-based smartphones will launch, what carriers they'll be on, and in which countries they'll be available. Samsung is expected to make further announcements on that front soon. CNET has contacted the company for comment and will update this story when we have more information.

Until then, those who want to try out Tizen technically can do so right now: the operating system is running on Samsung's second-generation Gear smartwatch. The smartwatch's first iteration was running on Android, but that was dumped in favor of Samsung's own OS. Yoon told Reuters that an Android-based smartwatch from Samsung will be available sometime later this year.

 

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