Google Android and Apple iOS rule the mobile operating system industry with the former having a whopping 78% of market share and the latter dominating 18.3% of the 334.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide in Q1 2015, leaving practically no room for any other mobile OS to grow. Tizen operating system is a new entrant, which is based on the Linux Kernel, jointly developed by Samsung Group, Intel, Tizen Association & Linux Foundation. However, the OS failed to create enough buzz in the market and received a lukewarm response from smartphone users.
Recently Reuters reported that a knowledgeable resource revealed that Samsung Electronics plans to launch more Tizen OS based smartphones this year. The resource also added that the Tizen operating system based phones would be launched at different prices, however, did not reveal the specifications of the phones. This interesting move by Samsung, raises the question as to why, despite having controlled an average of 29% smartphone market, Samsung is investing more on it’s Tizen OS instead of focusing on improving Android experiences for it’s users, on it’s phones.
Though the Tizen OS works smoothly, not many people accept it as their primary operating system over the already existing Android and iOS. This is because of the lack of user base and third party apps available on that platform.
The Android and iOS operating systems target the over 1.91 billion smartphone users, unlike Tizen OS which targets a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, smart cameras, wearable computers (smart watches), printers, smart home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, ACs, ovens etc.
Android operating system is open in nature but presently doesn’t operate with all those devices which Tizen works on. The Android OS mainly powers smartphones, tablets, PCs, smart watches and in-car computing, today, and doesn’t support the other smart, connected devices like refrigerator, washing machines, etc. which proudly represent the Internet of Things (IoT). Samsung is out to position itself as an electronic company which is focusing its energies on building its own Smart ecosystem of intelligent connected things, which would need most of its products working on it’s proprietary Tizen operating system to do justice to its mission.
How does Tizen OS help Samsung in building in its own ecosystem?
As addressed earlier, Samsung is considering the broader gamut of possibilities by making it’s Tizen OS, the operating system designed to work with other electronic equipments and as a base for establishing its connected ecosystem. As we know interaction takes place quicker and smoother when the devices which communicate are built on the same architecture and use a common platform for communicating. For instance, one would be able to change the temperature of the refrigerator using the smartphone itself.
What has Samsung done so far?
Samsung launched the Samsung Z1, with the Tizen OS in January 2015. Since the device is a budget device, countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have welcomed it and the demand for it has grown since. The Z1’s successor Z2 is already rumored to be released pretty soon.
On an average, 25 million smartphones are being shipped in India every quarter. With very few people being aware of the Tizen OS as yet, Samsung selling one million Z1s in India, was purely a price play and as it was aimed at targeting people looking for budget phones, it managed to sell pretty well. Albeit, the phone has hardly managed to garner the interest of users of Android and iOS devices, who are feature focused and see the dearth of apps and high specs, an uninteresting preposition.