There’s an OS Samsung Wants You to Use Instead of Android
Most mobile phone users have never heard of Tizen. Neither have car owners or anyone with a fridge.
Samsung Electronics Co. wants to change that.
The South Korean electronics giant is in a quiet push to make its Tizen operating system a part of the technology lexicon as familiar as Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. Its ambition doesn’t stop there. Samsung sees the software in your car, fridge and television too.
The first developer conference in Asia for Tizen wrapped up Tuesday after a two-day run, bringing together app developers and Tizen backers from Samsung, Intel and mobile operators.
Samsung did not announce a Tizen phone, but it made a pitch for developers to create apps for the mobile operating system that is yet to be seen in the market. Samsung promised to give out $4 million cash to the creators of the best Tizen apps.
Samsung supplied about one third of the smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter, nearly all of them running on Google’s Android. Its early bet on Google’s free-of-charge operating system served Samsung well and the company’s rise to top smartphone seller also helped Android become the most used mobile platform in the world. According to Localytics, 63 percent of all Android mobile devices in use are made by Samsung.
But while Samsung was wildly successful with selling its Galaxy phones and tablets, it had little success in locking Galaxy device users into music, messaging and other Samsung services. Google, however, benefited from more people using its search service, Google Play app and other Google mobile applications on Galaxy smartphones. Owners of Galaxy devices remain for the most part a slave to Google’s Android update schedule and its rules.
About nine in every 10 smartphone users are tied to either Google’s Android or Apple’s iPhone ecosystems, generating profit for Google and Apple every time they purchase a game or application on their smartphone.
That is partly why Samsung wants to expand its control beyond hardware to software, by building its own mobile operating system.
“With only hardware, its influence is limited,” said Kang Yeen-kyu, an associate research fellow at state-run Korea Information Society Development Institute. “Samsung’s goal is to establish an ecosystem centered on Samsung.”
The consolidation of global technology companies in the last few years reflects such trends. Apple has always made its own operating system for the iPhone. Google Inc. acquired Motorola Mobility in 2011 and Microsoft Corp. announced in September its plan to buy Nokia Corp., leaving Samsung the only major player in the smartphone market that does not make its own operating system.