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Samsung brings Tizen smartphone to Bangladesh

Company decides to sell a handset powered by its Tizen OS in Bangladesh after it proved "successful" in India after its launch last month.

The Samsung Tizen Z1 is now on store shelves in Bangladesh after a successful India launch. CNET

Samsung's Tizen-powered Z1 smartphone has landed in Bangladesh after enjoying a "successful" launch in India last month.

The Z1, Samsung's first Tizen-powered smartphone, hit store shelves in Bangladesh on Tuesday, the company announced on Thursday. Bangladesh is the first market outside of India to get Samsung's handset. Pricing was not announced.

Samsung and Intel spearheaded Tizen's development, pitching it two years ago to reporters as an alternative to the dominant Android and iOS. The initial plan was to offer Tizen in high-end devices that could compete with flagship Android and iOS alternatives. But as delays wreaked havoc on the operating system and wireless partners announced they would not be offering Tizen handsets, Samsung went silent on the software's future.

Finally, Samsung decided last year that it would forgo the high-end of the market and instead focus on the low- and mid-range markets. The company also is pushing Tizen as the "operating system of everything," with the software so far used in all of its new smart TVs, its wearables and digital cameras.

The focus on the low- and mid-range markets breathed new life into Tizen and provided the operating system an opportunity to appeal to people in developing countries that perhaps had never owned a smartphone. The Indian model retails for just $90.

Tizen is not alone in the emerging market space. Google's Android One is vying for the same customers and so far has more products on store shelves around the world. Firefox OS from Mozilla is also targeting customers in emerging markets.

Samsung watched profits in its mobile communications division tumble 74 percent year-over-year in the third quarter as competition becomes stiffer and marketing costs rise. Samsung has said that it will cut its smartphone offerings this year by a third and will start unveiling high-end devices, like the anticipated Galaxy S6, at its Samsung Unpacked event in March.

It's unlikely that Tizen will play a major role in Samsung's mobile business anytime soon, but nearly every company sees emerging markets as the next frontier for mobile growth, and offering the Z1 in more markets could prove crucial to Samsung etching out a portion of that space.

Samsung's Z1 comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 3.1-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 1,500mAh battery. According to Samsung, the device has so far "drawn positive responses from Indian customers."

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shara Tibken contributed to this report.