Samsung might soon be a Tizen-only shop

It has long been rumored that Samsung was looking for ways to free itself from dependence on Google, despite how Google's Android operating system brought it much needed fame and revenue. Tizen has been that get out of jail ticket, according to those rumors, which is now seemingly corroborated by an anonymous company exec. In the near future, according to that source, Tizen will be the OS for all of Samsung's devices, including smartphones. While its desire for total control is understandable, the switch carries a very huge risk, considering the current situation in all areas.

Although Samsung already does use Tizen for some of its devices, those are mostly limited to low volume products, like smart TVs and smartwatches. It does have a very few number of Tizen-powered smartphones and no Tizen tablet at all. The risk for TVs and wearables are lower for Samsung. There isn't yet an established consumer expectation in terms of user interface and functionality, leaving room for competing implementations.

Smartphones and tablets are a different story. Anything outside of iOS, Android, and Windows are considered niche territory and are unlikely to have mass appeal or reception. Samsung is currently using India as a testing ground for its Samsung Z smartphones but while it does enjoy some relative success there, it is not indicative of the global market at all. Unless Samsung intends on keeping Tizen limited to certain markets, which means it will still be relying on Android for others. It would be like Bada all over again.

And that's not even considering how Tizen itself is currently undergoing a period of turbulence. The Tizen Alliance has lost some key members, leaving a few, like Samsung and LG, the sole survivors. That does open the door for Samsung to take over, as it is the only major vendor with Tizen products in the market. That might not sit well with the Linux Foundation, however, as it runs the risk of Samsung turning the open source project into a proprietary one. The platform itself isn't that large in comparison. While it does have its fair share of popular apps, the selection is far from ideal. Should Samsung decide to lean exclusively on Tizen even for smartphones, it will face the same problems that BlackBerry and Microsoft are desperately trying to solve.

The Samsung exec was quoted to claim that "if you don't have your own ecosystem, then you will have no future", comparing Samsung to Apple, who of course has its own iOS platform. But there is a key difference here. Apple has had a long head start in that area, corralling support from developers over the years. While Samsung's name might have almost the same weight in the market, Tizen doesn't. Presuming there is truth to this leak, it would be a very risky, almost foolhardy, move for a company who was able to finally improve its earnings just recently, thanks in no small part to its Android-powered flagship smartphone.

VIA: Korea Times