Samsung has been working behind-the-scenes on the new Tizen mobile operating system for some time, but plans to release the first smartphone running the OS seem to have hit a snag. Reports from Korea suggest that the Tizen phone’s debut has been pushed back by at least two months from its original August release date.
The main problem seems to be some kind of issues with the Tizen app store, which is being jointly designed by Samsung and Intel. According to the Korean news site inews24 (Korean language), the store’s interface still needs a few more tweaks (not to mention, more apps), before it can be opened up for the public.
As for the actual phone in question, this has been given the codename “Redwood”, though we don’t know what the official name will ultimately be. What we do know is that there are actually two model numbers – suggesting two different versions – the GT-I8800 and the GT-I8805. It looks to be a fairly robust handset even if it’s nothing special, featuring LTE, a HD display, and an Exynos 4412 processor. Samsung hasn’t said which markets it’ll arrive in first, but it’s likely that it’ll adopt a strategy similar to that of Mozilla with its Firefox OS, targeting a small number of less-established markets first to try and build up some traction.
Here’s an image of what’s reputed to be the “Redwood” Tizen phone:
Plenty of people have expressed doubts about Tizen’s chances of succeeding in a mobile world dominated by Android, and the Redwood phone will be a crucial acid test. Samsung has prior experience developing its own mobile operating system of course (remember Bada?), but that was a pretty abysmal effort when stacked up against Android. Since then Samsung has clearly learned from its mistakes though, and its domination of the Android platform is evidence that it knows what it’s doing. Moreover, the company is motivated by a desire to free itself from its reliance on Google for Android. It’s got some serious backing in the shape of Intel too, a company that’s every bit as determined to make Tizen succeed for very different reasons, namely to gain a foothold on a mobile space that’s dominated by its competitors ARM and Qualcomm. So long as Samsung can actually get Tizen to work and deliver an experience that’s on a par with that of Android, there’s every chance that it could one day emerge as a serious threat to Google’s mobile domination, especially if Samsung one day decides to drop Android altogether.
Tizen will have outside forces to content with though – one key question is how many mobile operating systems do we need? Sure, no one minds a bit of variety but surely there can only be room for so many pretenders to Android’s crown. We’ve already got Windows Phone and Blackberry vying for third place, and these are soon to be joined by Firefox Phones and next year, Ubuntu phones. It’s gonna be an interesting space to watch, but don’t be surprised if it all ends in tears for at least one of these young pretenders.