Samsung Electronics welcomed application developers to San Francisco on Monday for its first-ever Developer Conference, and although the company is a behemoth in the Android smartphone and tablet markets, it has been quietly making a push for another platform it supports: Tizen.
According to CNET, outside of the conference's keynotes and big speeches by Samsung executives, Tizen is cropping up in discussions between developers, in meetings with Samsung partners, and in incentives offered to developers. "The whole conference has got to be seen in the context of Tizen," Ovum analyst Jan Dawson told CNET. "Samsung is proving it's good at working with developers so they'll transition to Tizen when the time comes."
Samsung is the largest backer of the Tizen Association, an open-source group that was created through the merger of the former MeeGo and LiMo platforms. Other Tizen supporters include Sprint (NYSE:S), Intel, Huawei, Orange and Vodafone. Samsung has positioned Tizen as one of its many platform options, but analysts have consistently said Samsung could be using Tizen as a hedge against Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. (Samsung also supports Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 platform.)
CNET reported in July that Samsung delayed its Tizen phone release by several months to the fourth quarter of 2013, but it now appears that delay could be even longer: One of Samsung's partners told CNET that Samsung now plans to launch Tizen phones in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Samsung declined to comment about the timing of its Tizen launch, according to the report.
Samsung co-CEO JK Shin said in August he expects Tizen will expand beyond mobile devices to power a host of connected devices across multiple industry verticals. One of the biggest hindrances to Tizen right now is a lack of apps and developer interest, which Samsung and Intel are working to overcome.
Beyond just Tizen, GigaOM notes that Samsung is using its developer conference this week to market itself as a platform destination for developers. Samsung's new mobile SDK supports Samsung's pen, gestures, multiwindow and motion features with 800 APIs available to developers. Further, Samsung is trying to impress upon developers that its hardware, such as its Galaxy Note series using its "S-Pen," can be a springboard for app developers. Samsung said that simply by adding the digital pen to the Note series, more 1,800 pen-enabled apps were created. Samsung is also touting its prowess in the TV market as a benefit for developers seeking to create apps that work across multiple screens.
In the past, both Google and Samsung executives have downplayed any talk of tension between the two companies. However, the developer conference gives Samsung an opportunity to attract developers to its vision and platform for creating digital experiences across multiple devices. According to GigaOM, there was barely a mention of the word "Android" during Samsung's developer keynote. Samsung showed a similar approach to Android during its S4 launch earlier this year.
- see this CNET article
- see this GigaOM article
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