Samsung's Tizen may launch on more smartphones this year

Samsung plans to launch "several" Tizen smartphones by the end of this year across a wide range of prices, according to a new report.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

The Tizen operating system could be coming to many more devices in the coming months. Luke Westaway/CNET

Samsung's self-made Tizen operating system has more hardware destinations, according to a Reuters report.

Samsung plans to launch Tizen on "several" new devices this year, Reuters is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company's plans. Samsung will launch an array of handsets across a range of prices, the report says.

Like Google's Android, Tizen is an open-source operating system designed to run on devices of all kinds, including smartphones, tablets and televisions. Although Samsung has taken the lead on developing the platform, several major technology companies, including Intel, Huawei and Panasonic, are members of the Tizen Association, a group that was established in 2012 to support the platform.

Tizen was initially designed to be Samsung's answer to the two dominant forces in mobile operating systems: Android and iOS. However, after a string of delays and setbacks, Samsung decided that it would offer Tizen as an alternative to customers in emerging markets who were seeking low-cost smartphones.

The long-awaited launch

Samsung finally launched its Tizen-powered smartphone, the Z1, in India and Bangladesh in January. The device is available for under $100 off-contract, making it affordable for customers who want to jump into the smartphone market but don't have the cash to buy a higher-end alternative running Android or iOS.

Tizen is also available on other Samsung products, including the company's wearables. A handful of wearables, including the Samsung Gear S and the Gear 2, are running on Tizen. Samsung said in January that Tizen will run on all of the company's smart televisions in 2015.

Tizen is an important part of Samsung's plans to reinvigorate the company's mobile division. Smartphone sales on Android-based devices disappointed last year, prompting the company to cut the number of handsets it would offer by a third in 2015. In April, research firm Strategy Analytics revealed that Samsung shipped 83.2 million smartphones worldwide during the first quarter of 2015, earning it 24 percent of the space. While Samsung led the space, that figure was down from 31 percent market share in the same period in 2014.

Samsung faces myriad issues, including heavy competition for the higher-end of the market from Apple. The company, which was also once the favorite handset maker in China, has watched home-grown competitors like Xiaomi and Huawei steal market share.

The lower-end of the space where Tizen lives, however, could prove important to Samsung. A gold rush of sorts is developing in that end of the space with competitors like Google's Android One vying for consumers in emerging markets. By launching more devices, Samsung could be planning to expand its Tizen footprint and make the operating system more readily accessible across the world's emerging markets.

Has Samsung already provided hints?

If Samsung intends to offer more Tizen devices, however, it's unclear in which markets the handsets will be offered. Samsung may have telegraphed its future launch plans in April after expanding its Tizen application marketplace to 182 markets, including the US, Mexico and Japan. The app store was previously only available in the two markets Tizen devices were available.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the company would launch more Tizen devices and where they would be available.