Samsung may not have made much of Tizen so far, but sees the little-known OS as being the key to its multi-platform convergence strategy, not Google’s Android. The platform, building on MeeGo in partnership with Intel and other OEMs, may not have produced its first commercial Samsung phone, Samsung Electronics CEO J.K. Shin conceded to CNET, but that doesn’t mean the company is waning in its enthusiasm for Tizen. In fact, Shin argues, the need – and business case – for Tizen has never been stronger.
As Shin sees it, Tizen’s appeal is in its broad relevance across multiple product ranges. That’s something Samsung has experience in too, given the conglomerate’s own varied businesses; Tizen could well be the universal OS that not only ties them all together, but does so in a way that Samsung itself has greater control over.
“There are many convergences not only among IT gadgets, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and cameras, but also among different industries like cars, bio, or banks,” Shin pointed out. “Cross-convergence is the one [area] Samsung can do best since we do have various parts and finished products.”
Although Android has been broadly billed as the OS set to power the “internet of things”, not least by Google itself, Samsung seems less enamored with the idea of putting the platform on every one of its products. In fact, the Korean company is said to be increasingly concerned about its reliance on Android, which runs on the majority of its best-selling phones and tablets, but over which Samsung itself has little control.
In contrast, Samsung has been able to effectively take lead in pushing Tizen, though the company’s first device to run the OS isn’t expected to hit shelves until Q4 this year.
Although Samsung does not have its own car business, the company is said to be keen to extend its technological footprint into the automotive segment. According to one insider familiar with Intel’s work on Tizen, the platform is “well-suited” to in-car deployment, though they also pointed out that it was unlikely to actually happen until 2015 at the earliest.
Broad connectivity between devices, even if they lack a user-facing display, is expected to be one of the growth areas for consumer tech in the coming years, and several companies are keen to produce the common OS that does the talking between phones, tablets, cameras, home appliances, and more. Back in 2012, Google looked set to mount an all-out assault on the segment with the Android@Home project, but the push for home automation failed to materialize.