Samsung has confirmed for Bloomberg Businessweek that it intends to ship not one, but multiple Tizen-based smartphones this year. The phones, which would rely on a platform that shares much of its DNA with the abandoned Samsung pet project Bada OS, won’t be scheduled for a wide release, but their impact on the Korean company’s mobile strategy could be far-reaching.
In September of last year, rumors emerged that a Tizen smartphone might launch under the Galaxy brand, a line of devices that has featured Android exclusively while carving out a sizable market share for Samsung. While there is no confirmation that upcoming handsets will earn the Galaxy moniker, the thought that Samsung might initiate a slow retreat from Android isn’t all that farfetched.
More likely, however, is a continued partnership between Google and Samsung for years to come, though Samsung might be making small moves, such as the introduction of Tizen-based devices, to distance their reliance on the open source platform. Think of Tizen as more of an experiment for Samsung, limited to Asian markets and without a lot riding on its success. If it catches on, Samsung could release more devices in more regions. If it’s a flop, well there’s always future Galaxy models to look forward to.
BGR posits one intriguing possibility: Samsung could adopt an Amazon-esque strategy in which the company would develop a forked version of Android, an operating system based on Google’s but customized to a larger degree and following its own update schedule. In this case, Samsung would be looking to create an ecosystem to go with their devices, much like Amazon’s Kindle line.
But even that seems unlikely. It’s risky at best. Not with the foundation Samsung has already built with Android. So it’s a fair question to ask if Samsung is looking to move away from Android, but while there may be small signs in the meantime we likely won’t know the full extent of things until much further down the road.
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