Samsung today announced world’s first Tizen OS powered smartphone, Samsung Z after long iterations. While this move from Samsung might not be required at this stage when it handsomely leads the smartphone market but there is more to Samsung’s Tizen strategy than what is evident on the surface.
- With Tizen, Samsung & Intel aim to lead a whole new open ecosystem which offers stronger foundation to make it scalable to other product categories beyond smartphones such as wearables to automobiles allowing more control over the platform compared to Google’s Android
- Samsung sees Tizen as ‘the platform’ which will drive its broad and deeper product portfolio from mobile to domestic appliances a critical element towards its longer-term multi-screen strategy compared to Android’s fragmented multi-screen software and support
- Samsung will gain brownie points as Tizen also offers operators who already have and will jump into the ecosystem ability to deeply customize and optimize the platform across multiple devices, key when entering the IoE era
- The initial launch of Tizen devices have been in wearable space (Samsung Gear 2 & Gear 2 Neo), and now smartphone (Samsung Z) and if you see Samsung has already packaged the device with number of sensors similar to Galaxy S5 depicting Samsung’s intention pretty clear to make the Tizen devices part of its ‘lifestyle’ program and tightly coupled with other devices running Tizen
- In terms of go-to-market, while Tizen wearables have seen a global launch, the Tizen smartphone, Samsung Z is being positioned as high-tier device with initial markets limited to Russia and India as operators in other markets are still not completely keen on rolling out Tizen devices and ecosystem. We believe France would be a good market to test-launch and bundle Samsung Z with Samsung Gear Neo.
- We believe Tizen powered Samsung TV would be the next on the cards to test out and showcase to the application developers and content providers the connectedness, seamlessness and flexibility of Tizen as a challenger platform
- In spite of an agreement signed between Google & Samsung earlier this year on a long-term co-operative partnership, Samsung’s Tizen play will still act as a leverage for Samsung against Google to also control Android market a bit more than competitors, also considering that the Tizen ecosystem players’ have deeper pockets
- However, developer support will be crucial as the platform will undergo the similar chicken-egg problem as Windows Phone went through in last four years for scale vs. adoption
Exhibit: Samsung Z, World’s first Tizen OS powered smartphone
Exhibit 2: Samsung Gear 2 Gear 2 Neo, World’s first Tizen OS powered smartwatches