Samsung: Tizen OS will power our smart TVs in 2015

The company still has ambitions for its operating system, despite Tizen's rocky history.

Samsung showed off a prototype Tizen TV at the 2014 Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco. The company says all its 2015 smart TVs will run the OS.
Samsung showed off a prototype Tizen TV at the 2014 Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco. The company says all its 2015 smart TVs will run the OS. Nate Ralph/CNET

Samsung's Tizen operating system will power all the company's smart TVs in 2015, the Korean electronics maker announced Wednesday, another step in Samsung's efforts to gain a foothold for the troubled OS.

"The way society consumes entertainment...has evolved and now includes multiple devices and endless content from a variety of sources," the company said in a release about the new TVs. "Recognizing this shift, Samsung's new platform was designed to deliver an integrated entertainment experience that is at once streamlined and powerful."

Toward that end, the company said, the Tizen smart TVs will be able to automatically search for nearby Samsung mobile devices and connect to them, allowing content to be easily shared back and forth. "Users can also watch live broadcasts or TV on their mobile devices, anywhere on their home network, even when their TV is powered off," Samsung said.

Samsung ultimately wants Tizen to be the "OS of everything," as the company said during its developers conference last year, but the rollout of the operating system has been anything but smooth. It was originally touted by the company -- one of the world's top makers of smartphones -- as a rival to Google's Android and Apple's iOS mobile platforms. But nearly two years after its splashy launch at the high-profile Mobile World Congress trade show, Tizen has yet to appear in a commercially released smartphone.

Delays, missteps with carriers, and tepid consumer demand for anything other than Android and iOS have meant that the only devices running on Tizen so far are a few of Samsung's smartwatches and some of its digital cameras. Recently, the company has shifted its strategy for Tizen on smartphones, setting aside its high-end ambitions and aiming at emerging markets like India with cheap devices powered by the OS -- though none of those products has yet hit the market.

The TV announcement shows that Samsung still entertains hopes of making Tizen a key component of smart gadgets and the Internet of Things -- where everything from thermostats to cars will be wired to communicate via the Net. As Samsung co-CEO JK Shin said in an interview last year, "Cross-convergence is the one [area] Samsung can do best, since we do have various parts and finished products."

Kim Hyun-suk, head of Samsung's visual display division, had said last month that a Tizen-powered TV would be on display at CES 2015. And the company showed off a prototype at the 2014 Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco.


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