Samsung Z Russian launch delay spells trouble for Tizen

Jul 11, 2014
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Samsung Z Russian launch delay spells trouble for Tizen

Just days before the Tizen-powered Samsung Z was supposed to launch in Russia, Samsung apparently got cold feet and cancelled. With nary an explanation nor a new target date for the launch of what would be the only commercial Tizen smartphone so far, former backers of the nascent mobile platform are starting to dwindle as their patience and tolerance start to get exhausted as well.

It's partly because they've seen this kind of scenario unfold before. Earlier this year, Samsung made the same Tizen spiel in Japan, only to pull out at the last minute, citing poor market conditions that wouldn't be conducive to Tizen's growth. We can only presume that those are the same conditions that Samsung is seeing again, this time in the Russian market. Unfortunately for Samsung, it has already invested quite a lot in Tizen and has already announced the Samsung Z last month. It can only do so much now to save face.

Samsung, however, might not be ready to cuts its losses and throw in the towel when it comes to Tizen. The mobile platform, developed in partnership with Intel and a few other companies but with Samsung mostly driving the ship, holds strategic value in Samsung's grand ambitions. Tizen is basically Samsung's answer to Google's Android and Apple's iOS, and a cheaper answer at that. But Samsung must do a precarious dance of striking it out on its own with Tizen without pissing of Google and the larger Android market.

But this latest cancellation might hint that Samsung isn't exactly ready yet to fly solo with Tizen. While it does already have more or less successful devices running the OS, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, those don't really need a full smartphone ecosystem, in particular, mobile apps. But Samsung Z does. The running theory to Samsung's flip flop with Samsung Z is that there just aren't enough apps to launch the platform, without the developer and industry clout that Google had when it launched Android years ago.

Unfortunately, this fiasco might have further alienated the developers it desperately needs. Samsung still pushed through with a Tizen-related event for developers in Moscow, but the turn out was less than inspiring. The benefit of launching an app for Tizen is that you at the top of a half-empty store., said Samsung Russia's Dmitry Anosov to an equally half-empty venue that normally holds 300 people. The problem is that a half-empty store also translates to very little monetization, which is part and parcel of what app developers will want in any commercial mobile platform.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


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