Samsung indefinitely postpones commercial launch of its first Tizen smartphone

The wait for the first commercial Tizen-based smartphone will go on. Samsung Electronics said it would delay sales in Russia of the Samsung Z, the first Tizen smartphone, presumably because there are not yet enough apps on the platform.

Sales of the Z were expected to begin in the third quarter. However, in a brief statement Monday sent to several news outlets, Samsung said that it was postponing the launch of the phone, citing a need to "further enhance [the] Tizen ecosystem." Samsung did not give an updated launch date for the Z or give any more information on its future plans for Tizen.

Earlier this month Samsung backed away from a promise to show off a commercial version of the Z at a developer conference in Moscow. At the time, Samsung said "the smartphone will appear on the Russian market later, when we can offer our users a fullest portfolio of applications." Developers were able to see prototypes of the device at the event.

In June, Samsung said the phone would roll out in Russia in the third quarter, and then expand to other markets, which it did not name. The first commercial Tizen phone was supposed to be unveiled earlier this year in Japan before those plans were reportedly scrapped because NTT DoCoMo back away from the launch.

Samsung has released smart watches and a camera running Tizen and has also said the software will be used in TVs and other home appliances. Tizen is its second attempt to cultivate a smartphone ecosystem that could serve as a counter-balancing force to Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android platform. Samsung scrapped its homegrown bada platform in 2013 and folded those development efforts into Tizen.

The vast majority of Samsung's phones run Android, and though the vendor has become the largest smartphone maker in the world largely thanks to Android, Google controls much of the direction of Android and its look and feel. Google also reaps revenue from selling music, movies and ebooks through Android. In recent months Samsung has shut down its own separate movie, TV, music and ebook content hubs.

Samsung remains the staunchest supporter of Tizen among hardware OEMs. Other Tizen supporters include Intel, Huawei, ZTE, Orange and Vodafone, as well as Sprint (NYSE: S), though Sprint has not indicated when it might launch Tizen-based products.

The Z itself has a 4.8-inch 720p display, a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Also, like Samsung's Android-based Galaxy S5, the gadget includes a fingerprint sensor and an "Ultra Power Saving Mode" that Samsung claims lets the phone stay operational even at minimal battery levels.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this AP article

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