Samsung to launch first Tizen smartphone – UK launch in Autumn?

Samsung is launching the first smartphone powered by Tizen, the open-source operating system they developed with Intel as an alternative to Android.

The Samsung Z phone will be unveiled this week at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco and it will go on sale in Russia later this year. No word yet on cost, or when it might make it to the UK, but the release says it is planned to expand to other markets after Q3 (basically September) so don’t rule out a UK launch.

It’ll apparently have a 720p HD, AMOLED display with a quad core, 2.3GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB memory, an 8 megapixel camera, a heart rate sensor and a fingerprint scanner. It’ll be available in black and gold too, in a slim design.

Samsung makes the world’s best-selling Android devices but increased competition in the mobile market means the company is looking for ways to stand out – and increase revenue. Using their own operating system rather than depending on Google means that they will establish their independence and bring in a larger share of profits from apps.

The Tizen Store is offering developers incentives to use their software including a promotional programme. Tizen apps are coded in HTML5, meaning they can be opened in a web browser, which allows for cross-platform compatibility. But when Google and Facebook released products using it last year, they quickly abandoned them due to performance issues.

In fact, Samsung intended to release a phone running Tizen last year but it was delayed for a variety of reasons, including hardware and software challenges and mobile provider skepticism. However, the company says the OS now allows for a faster start-up time and better multitasking capabilities.

The latest version of Samsung’s smart watch, the Galaxy Gear 2, also uses Tizen and the company has just released a software development kit to allow developers to build applications for Tizen-based TVs.

Diane Shipley