to launch first Tizen-based smartphone
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[June 02, 2014] SEOUL
(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> plans
to launch the first smartphone based on its Tizen
operating system in the third quarter, marking the
company's latest bid to build up its own ecosystem and
reduce reliance on Google Inc's <GOOGL.O> Android.
The South Korean firm on Monday said the Samsung Z, which comes with
a 4.8 inch high-definition display and offers features such as a
fingerprint sensor, will be unveiled at the Tizen Developer
Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
The phone will be available in Russia sometime in the July-September
period with other markets to follow, the firm said in a statement
without specifying which markets.
Samsung did not offer sales forecasts or how much the phone will
sell for, though an executive told Reuters in April that the company
is working on at least two models powered by Tizen and that will be
released "in a few countries where we can do well."
The Samsung Z would be the latest effort by the electronics giant to
build momentum for Tizen, with its Gear 2 smartwatches also powered
by the platform.
The majority of Samsung's mobile devices are based on Google's
Android platform. The push to develop its own operating system is
part of efforts to reduce dependence on the U.S. firm, but delays in
product launches have undercut expectations.
The Samsung executive said in April he thinks Tizen would have to
account for up to 15 percent of Samsung's total smartphone shipments
to be deemed a success.
"There is plenty of room and plenty of opportunity for a strong
third vendor; arguably if you can carve out 10 percent of a two
billion units market in smartphones (by 2018), then that could be an
opportunity," said Rachel Lashford, Singapore-based analyst at
Many in the industry are still in the dark about Tizen, however, so
there are questions about Samsung's level of commitment to the
platform, Lashford said.
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Analysts also say it will be difficult for Samsung to lure enough
developers to make the apps and services necessary to mount a
serious challenge to dominant platforms Android and iOS from Apple
Samsung declined to say how many apps are available for the
"The market for Tizen won't be as big as Android or Apple's iOS, so
I think it will be a challenge for Samsung to build up an
ecosystem," said IM Investment analyst Lee Min-hee.
Tizen may be more useful as leverage in future negotiations with
Google, Lee said.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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