Earlier this summer, Samsung announced a Tizen phone that was surprisingly high end for their independent and new Tizen OS (which has so far been used only with the Galaxy Gear line). Even for a company with the resources of Samsung, launching an entirely new mobile OS was destined to be a major challenge. As a result, the Samsung Z Tizen flagship, scheduled for initial release in Russia, has now been delayed indefinitely from its previously stated third quarter release date.
The reason for this delay, Samsung claims, is that the company wishes to “enhance the Tizen ecosystem,” which apparently is best done before the release of the device. Of course, this is nearly always the most difficult battle for any company attempting to break into the mobile OS business. Samsung can pour resources into developing Tizen, shipping quality hardware, and ensuring that Tizen performs all core functions as well as or better than other competing choices. However, no company can create an ecosystem all on its own.
This is a classic mobile market dilemma. Any platform needs applications to become popular, but applications are in large part made only for popular platforms. Without significant community support or copious amounts of cash, building an ecosystem is nearly impossible. While Samsung has the latter and quite the additional advantage in its new OS being quite visually similar to the version of Android that currently runs on their devices, the development and release of a Tizen phone has clearly still been somewhat difficult.
Though I typically have been somewhat critical of Samsung’s recent devices, and TouchWiz in particular, I think that there are quite a few people who want to see if Tizen can succeed. Not for Samsung’s sake, really, but simply to see if another mobile OS can even hope to take hold. It also helps that Tizen is Linux-based and open source, but then again Android is too, just not the Google Apps that most people want.
In short, I don’t think that we will be buying Tizen smartphones here for a while, even if Samsung is serious about it. Still, it is nice to see the process of launching a new mobile platform, especially when the roadblocks are found and must be navigated. It may not be relevant to Android users, except for the fact that it runs on the Gear watches and looks a bit like TouchWiz, but the project’s developments are certainly interesting to watch.[PCWorld]