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Does a Samsung Tizen phone in 2013 signal a shift away from Android?

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.




  • Crimsonshadow774

    I’m all about Samsung Android phones. The second they leave Android I’ll quit buying their phones. Unless they leave Android for Ubuntu perhaps.

    • Itchy_Robot

      ditto. Ubuntu is the only other OS besides Android that gets my attention. If Samsung leaves Android, I leave Samsung.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anibal.perez1 Anibal Perez

      Ubuntu is already dead in the water, all the manufacturers know that, Samsung would be completely wrong to switch away from Android as it’s primary platform

      • Crimsonshadow774

        You might want to rethink that.

        http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/phone

        • enomele

          Doesn’t mean it will go very far.

          • Crimsonshadow774

            No it doesnt. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t look promising either. Android has a lot of devoted fans and its built from the Linux kernel. So I’d say this has a fair shot.

          • camelsnot

            It doesn’t look promising. Lots of companies claim to have backing at the beginning.. more times that not the backing disappears. If Windows, which is INFINITELY more popular than a hack linux throughout the world is having problems with the mobile market, Ubuntu is DOA. End of story.

          • aergern

            @camelsnot:disqus So Android which uses the Linux kernel with java and other bits isn’t a hacked version of Linux and currently ruling the planet? I think you may not have thought that through really. Windows is windows on the desktop/laptop but it’s the UI and available apps that drive smartphones .. not preconceived notions.

    • camelsnot

      Ubuntu is fail. Just because they wasted dev time and dollars on a touch-enabled version never means it’ll go anywhere.

      • Crimsonshadow774

        Its a total fail considering its been around for YEARS. The touch enabled version is just the next step.

        If you troll and hate any harder, your next phone might be an iPhone. :)

  • WhoaManWtF

    You didn’t run an article saying ” Samsung leaving Android? They have announced a windows 7 phone” this is pretty much reaching for a headline, they have never been loyal to an os unless they made it.

    • spicymeatball

      True, they aren’t Nokia who jumps in bed with one OS.

  • Jdog25

    Not really because didn’t they try the same thing with their OS on the Samsung Wave. Besides they are just trying to have a back up for if Android ends up dying one day. Although Tizen seems like the wrong OS to go with.

  • guitarist5122

    It’s good for a company to dabble in different areas and keep their options numerous. Android is a huge success for them and they wisely should continue to milk the Android loving consumer for as much as they can, but they need to have backups. Who knows what the future of Android brings?

  • PhineasJW

    Much ado about nothing. Samsung is raking in money on the Android train.

    Why would they possibly abandon it for yet *another* platform, much less one with zero acceptance and zero applications??

    Tizen is a trial balloon that probably began 2+ years ago, just as the first Galaxy S was beginning to get traction. They should have left it in the hangar.

  • Butters619

    I’m guessing they are just trying to keep their options open and not have all their eggs in one basket.

  • John Wentworth

    OEM’s make phones with other operating systems, it’s common. HTC and Samsung makes both WP and Android phones. It’s about appealing to all sectors of the market. They are not loyal to one OS, they just focus on what sells the best, As long as Android is great and selling well they wouldn’t leave their bread and butter, Android phones. Why do we see these headlines every time an OEM dabbles with a new OS, I remember reading the same article when Bada OS came out.

  • jak_341

    From Samsung’s perspective, they are Android. What is the market share for Samsung phones? I thought it was like 80%. Without Samsung, Android is around BB and WP8. Samsung is Android right now. This is why Google needs to optimize Android for Samsung devices natively and not worry about LG, Motorola, and HTC. They are not bringing anything to the game right now. Work with Samsung in new development and profits.

    • selonmoi

      Samsung needs Android more than Android needs Samsung.

      Motorola and HTC both took their turns at leading the Android market. Take Samsung out of the mix and either could do it again. Based on my Nexus 4, I’d say LG looks about ready to take its turn, too.

      Samsung is in a highly enviable position right now. Moving away from Android in any significant measure would be insanity, and probably actionable by shareholders.

      • Tommy Thompson

        If they marketed it well, they could easily still sell their phones.

      • setspeed

        LG ready to take its turn, based on the N4? Uh, no. Shoddy internals, washed out screen, average (at best) camera, constant buzzing noise from the earpiece, poor touchscreen response – the list goes on. And that’s just what I experienced with my N4, before I sent it straight back. Based on that phone, LG is most definitely NOT ready to take its turn leading the Android market.

  • bmg314

    I can see Sammy eventually moving away from android, maybe not completely though.. Hell, look at their marketing… They hardly advertise that their phones run android, just that they are awesome. Even if the average consumer has a loose grasp of what android is, Sammy can just (in the future) market tizen as newer and better, while continuing to stress how great the phone itself is.

    • selonmoi

      But is Samsung capable of creating their own awesome platform? All signs (from their dumbphones to Bada to SmartTV) point to no.

    • BLADESMAN1889

      You said what I was thinking more or less, the likes of we know what android is but the average joe he/she don’t know or care less what OS is running on their phone just so long as it either A) looks good or B) does what they want from a phone. Then you have some techy people who ‘THINK’ they know something & will start waffling a load of bs about what they heard on BBC’s Click program or what they read in the Guardian !

  • maximillion82

    Good luck Samsung. Bada had little success so will this new OS, very few apps, and not as widely dispersed. Samsung will still make android devices. Otherwise this would just mean other Android manufacturers will take over and sell more devices and Samsung will end up lime RIM or Nokia. The Android platform is the reason Samsung became big in the cellphone market, Samsung just happened to be successful because of great hardware in comparison to the competition. Bit without the right platform the hardware alone doesn’t sell.

  • josh

    Without Samsung android would continue. The platform is too valuable and has to many players. Samsung would be foolish to assume you can have success without a great ecosystem. Also they would earn the scorn of Google and would be unlikely to have valuable services (YouTube, gmail, maps) integrated into any platform they try to introduce.

    Anyone who believes things would go any different than I described is misinformed.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I can’t imagine Samsung would abandon Android. Android has been Samsungs bread and butter last few years, and the GS4 will be an amazing phone, that people will buy. Tizen will be a niche market.

  • Itchy_Robot

    this would be stupid. The main draw to Samsung for consumers is the Android alternative to Apple’s iPhone. If they start a new OS, it will opt them out of the Android market and they will have to start from scratch building up a library. I am sure devs will be very reluctant to build apps specifically for a Samsung OS. If Samsung does go this route, they will be nothing more than another closed ecosystem, like iOS.

    What would be nice is if Samsung allows users to pick and choose from what OS they want to install. For example, when you buy a Samsung Galaxy phone, you would have to option to go with the Android OS, Ubuntu, or Tizen. All are open source and free. That model alone would sell them a boat load of phones.

    • setspeed

      No it wouldn’t, it would just seed confusion amongst regular consumers. Sure, the likes of you and me would either know we wanted Android, or would have done some research and decided we might like to try Tizen – but no normal person needs or wants that choice when their new phone starts up, It’s a horrendous idea.

  • spicymeatball

    The bottom line is that companies make more money if they own their products outright(proprietary). Android is open source and doesn’t create any stickiness to the manufacturer. Why wouldn’t the largest android manufacturer want something all for themselves which would squash the competition(lg, motorola, htc, etc.). I’m sure they will try this if their heads get too big. The thing that they need to remember is that Android fans are all about openness and choices and not being stuck to any manufacturer.

    • camelsnot

      actually a majority of android users could care less about “openness”. They see a cool commercial for a cool phone. They hear others have a Samsung and love it. They buy based on that… not on how Android is supposed to be open. That is the real bottom line.

      • spicymeatball

        I disagree otherwise the amazing amount of advertising that windows phones have had behind them would be making a difference. Advertisements only have cred after the experts and early adopters have had their say. The dark horse in all this is content. That’s really what will start to drive decisions in the next few years. The hardware and even the software is becoming negligible. It’s all functional and great Now what? Services…

  • JulianZHuang

    maybe samsung predicted android cant lasts forever.

    • camelsnot

      maybe your comments still cease to be relevant.

    • OptimusL

      Stop posting.

  • Shawn_Locke

    As much as I love the Android OS, I think it’s smart for Samsung to not put all of its eggs in one basket. Especially with Windows Phone failing to pick up much ground.

  • chuckles87

    Even if it succeeds does not mean they are moving from android they would have no reason to with androids success. This is just a company trying to tap into more markets and gain more market share. Same as HTC is doing with windows phone. No manufacturer has to be locked into a single os they are just creating options for consumers which is just good business.

  • castlefox

    I am excited Tizen since its base on Linux and I love me some open-source.

  • Lennatron

    No company can instantly build a catalog of over 725,000 apps, millions of songs, books, magazines, movies, and TV shows. Even the Google Play Store, with over 1.3 million Android activations per day, isn’t quite on par with Apple’s App Store when it comes to Movies, TV, and music and Android is 5 years old! Just look at Amazon and their severe lack of Apps.

  • TheHowiie

    Samsung should weigh their options but Android is where the money is at.

  • Alu Zeros

    Big mistake, will be a failure just like bada

  • ntegrit

    After selling 10 gazillion Android devices, “a slow retreat from Android isn’t all that farfetched”? Seriously?

  • Butthurt iSheep are Butthurt

    I think Ubuntu will have a better chance in the mobile market than Tizen would, just the name itself will turn heads.

  • erni74

    The Samsung GALAXY S4 was leaked!!!

  • Noel

    It will be a huge mistake for Samsung to consider moving away from Androida..bada flopped and Tizen will most likely not catch on. That will really open the door for HTC big time.. as well as the other Android OEMs like Sony, Motorola, LG etc. Android is the reason Samsung has been able to sell millions and millions of Galaxy device’s.

  • http://twitter.com/miikeg Michael Grabowski

    Good work Samsung, bite the hand that feeds you, and pour time and resources into a DOA Operating System, instead of putting that effort into perfecting your wildly popular Android phones. Or how about taking the staff wasting their time on Tizen and assigning them to help out with updates that don’t take a year to be released (if ever) or maybe even releasing the current versions of the OS, instead of making us wait eons for something that’s already obsolete.
    Putting all your eggs into one basket is one thing, but with this endeavor they’re not putting them into a different basket, they’re just wasting eggs.
    Gah!

  • setspeed

    I think that everyone criticising Samsung for investing in something new needs a reality check.
    What if Tizen turns out to be the best OS ever? I love Android, but I don’t think it’s infallible, and I also think it has a lot of flaws that need fixing. I’d love it if some decent contenders stepped up to the plate, and weren’t killed by their creators (Meego Harmattan) or stillborn because they don’t have the speed to react to the market conditions (Ubuntu).

    I am actually looking forward to the Jolla Sailfish OS which is supposed to be coming out on ST Ericcson devices this year. And if Samsung can bring a decent OS out in the form of Tizen then I’ll take a long hard look at that as well.

    Don’t get me wrong – it would have to be absolutely STUNNING software and STUNNING hardware to prise me away from Android. But choice is good, and Android isn’t the only choice – it’s just the best choice, at the moment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.b.ranes Jonathan Ranes

    Android = Google = Evil NSA plot to genetically modify my children and force me to use the beast system nearfield wallet in google’s hands to buy bread.

    I will be on the first open source alternative to android the day it is available.