Samsung Electronics' efforts to get the first smartphone running the open-source Tizen platform into the market suffered another setback when the company had to backtrack on its promise to show off a commercial version of its first Tizen phone at a developer conference in Moscow on Thursday.
Samsung did not give a firm date for the commercial launch of the phone, the Samsung Z, at the developer summit but said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that "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, though India has been rumored as another potential market. Samsung also did not disclose a price for the phone.
According to the Journal, some attendees speculated about whether Samsung pushed the launch back simply because there are not enough apps for the Tizen application storefront. "The most obvious advantage [of developing for the Tizen phone] is that you'll be at the top in a half empty store on a decent premium device," Dmitry Anosov, a Samsung executive in Russia, told a half-empty ballroom at the event.
Most developers have patience after years of Tizen delays--the first commercial phone was supposed to be unveiled earlier this year in Japan before those plans were scrapped because carriers got cold feet.
The Z represents Samsung's first recent step to branch out beyond using Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android platform and Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone. Samsung scrapped its homegrown bada platform in 2013 and folded those development efforts into Tizen. Since then, Samsung has put the Linux-based Tizen operating system into cameras and smart watches like its Galaxy Gear 2, but so far not into a smartphone.
Samsung remains the staunchest support 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.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this GigaOM article
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