Hands-on: Samsung Tizen prototype smartphone [VIDEO]

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With Samsung sitting high upon their throne as Android’s #1 manufacturer, it’s interesting to see them playing around with another open source mobile operating system. Although not specifically “Android” related, when we heard that Samsung was showing off and advertising Tizen — their rival mobile OS — at this year’s Mobile World Congress, we simply had to see it for ourselves.

What we found when we arrived were a variety of Tizen-based Samsung hardware, hidden behind the Korean manufacturer’s now infamous prototype cases. After receiving a brief rundown from one of the Tizen reps, we noticed how scarily similar Tizen was to Android. In fact, many of the same Android actions (long pressing, widgets, back/menu/home hardware buttons), along with notification pulldown, are also present on Tizen. If you didn’t know it wasn’t running Android, chances are you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.

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A few neat tricks were the way Tizen handles icons and widgets — making them essentially one and the same. Icons can be resized and when extended, open to reveal widgets inside. Further extending will reveal even more information, and swiping down on the widget will reveal specific actions and/or controls. Samsung’s customized Android experience has never been known for being snappy and unfortunately, the same problem applies to Tizen. Don’t get us wrong, everything was rendering smoothly, we just felt the overall experience was a bit laggy (something that could be fine tuned in future updates).

For those curious to see Tizen in action, feel free to check out our hands-on video below. With Tizen already coming equipped on the soon-to-be released Samsung Gear 2, it’s only a matter of time before it officially lands on other mobile devices — smartphones and tablets included.

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  • http://www.us.playstation.com/ HyperTallih

    Looks like much the TouchWiz of Samsung Galaxy S5.

    Good phone but as i must choose the Tizen final version or Samsung Galaxy S5 it would be a Samsung galaxy S5 but. But this looks nice.

  • http://iron2000.blogspot.com/ iron2000

    Not only Android, it has a bit of WP dna as well with a tile-based home screen.

    So Tizen has zero Android code underneath?
    Almost thought you can sideload a launcher or something :P

  • JiGSaW525

    This looks like Touchwiz without an Android OS behind it. Why do I see Sammy introducing a Tizen-Based phone with the ability to run Android Apps in the future?

  • Bartek Svaberg

    But why?

  • Nathan Bryant

    I find it really funny that they continue to use those things to “hide” the look of a device when you can clearly see the shape of it.

  • dandroid13

    One thing that I usually read, people saying that Tizen is Samsung, it isn’t. Tizen is Linux Foundation, backed by Sansung and Intel.

    • http://www.us.playstation.com/ HyperTallih

      I only know it has a Linux kernel more not.

  • phinn

    I still can’t see what benefit Samsung gets for the development and maintenance of their own Linux OS when Google does this so well already with Android. Of course there are many Linux distros and this is simply another one for smartphones, but with such good effort already coming from Google I just don’t see the point. It couldn’t be for UI functionality since all of this can already be done with a custom DE or Launcher.

    • Guillaume

      That will allow them to push for their services in a far more integrated way than Google rules allow with Android, and try to tie all their users to the Samsung ecosystem (cloud, apps, hubs, etc.). Similar to Apple with iOS. To me that means yuck, I’ll move away from Samsung as soon as they ditch Android.

      • Robabobbob

        I agree, I’m all up for competing OS’s but an OS controlled by a manufacturer can only lead to an Apple like situation and while it has it’s advantages I think the downside is too great.

      • Henri Weich Conradie

        Samsung’s apps are a joke. Millions of people who buy their devices probably don’t even use their apps.

        • Guillaume

          Exactly. I put a custom ROM based on the Google Play Edition on my Touchwiz’s S4, there is absolutely NOTHING I miss, and it feels far more smooth and snappy. I’ll never get another Samsung with TouchWiz anymore.

  • JPB

    Ick. Tiles. No thanks.

    Does it accept 3rd party launchers?

  • steveb944

    My takeaway from this video was Chris’ awesome hair. I kinda got bored with the phone as it reminds me of going back to Samsung and their Touchwiz, I feel they can’t make it snappy. Only time will tell

  • real0325

    I truly like the way you can use the icons, if that was on touchwiz ; it would be nice. I see they save some of their tricks for tizen.

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    As someone who isn’t familiar with TouchWiz, Tizen looks to me exactly like TouchWiz. After watching the video, I’m fully convinced that Samsung could move to Tizen and the majority of Samsung users would never know the difference. That’s a very interesting thought.

    Sure, they’re missing the ecosystem but tools to port APKs to TPK’s are becoming readily available. They’re also going to push Tizen at their developer conferences for Gear. Once people start to jump on the Tizen train, they really only need a handful of popular apps, movies, and music and they’re set. Seeing as Samsung Media Hub already provides some of this, I think they’re well on their way.

    • My name is….

      I hope that Samsung will indeed move to Tizen. Hopefylly, all their top-tier smartphones will eventually come with Tizen.

      And then, there will be room for Android manufacturers to emerge and shine.
      For example, its a shame that HTC1 and LG G2 are not going well at sales because they are not ‘Samsung’

  • commonsenseamerica

    Thrown, Throne whatever

  • louched1

    If/when Samsung switches over to Tizen will they lose Google services?

    • AGx

      I doubt they would ever “switch” to Tizen. They will simply sell both Android and Tizen devices. Tizen might find a niche but I highly doubt it will replace Android in anyone’s eyes, regardless of how good it is. I actually think both BB10 and Windows Phone are fantastic, so do a lot of others but none of them will leave Android or iOS. I imagine Tizen will suffer like the rest who are late to the game.

      • louched1

        Samsung has the largest mobile customer base on the planet so they may be able to pull it off. I’m still curious if Google will allow Google Services on to Tizen. The Kindle seems to do all right without Google Services, but I’m not convinced that Tizen will be able to succeed without them.

        • AGx

          Samsung has that large user bad greatly due to Android. Try getting those users to switch over to an operating system that’s incompatible with all the apps they’ve been using, and paying for, for years. Tough sell. And the Kindle is still Android. Even if it doesn’t have Google Services it’s still Android. There’s very much so a reason that they based it on Android rather than just building their own tablet OS.

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    Touchwiz sans android. Great job Sammy.

  • Alex Alexander

    I hope TW on the Note 4 bring that UI or Tizen… I don’t mind.

    • Henri Weich Conradie

      Samsung

      Y u no continue great relationship with Android

  • androidscales

    Tizen==pos ..made me puke awful os

  • Martin Lane

    I get the impression Tizen is Samsung’s backup if the relationship with Google goes downhill.

    Based on the footage it has some good features.

  • Rob Schoenfeld

    Looks like Windows Phone’s retard cousin..

  • lolwut

    Originally Tizen had a handsome interface but, like with every Samsung UI, they turned it into a cartoony nauseatingly ugly piece of dog turd.

    Original Tizen below:

  • Delmar

    Why don’t we just start review phones that dont use android too, cmon this is android specific website son