January 18, 2012, 7:02 AM — Samsung Electronics appears to be backtracking from earlier reports that said it was merging its own bada mobile platform with the Intel-backed Tizen operating system, stating on Wednesday that no decision on the merger has been made.
"We are carefully looking at it as an option to make the platforms serve better for customers," Samsung said in a statement.
Tae-Jin Kang, senior vice president of Samsung's contents planning team, said the merger was already under way in an interview with Forbes magazine last week. After the integration, Tizen will support mobile applications written with bada's SDK (software development kit), he said.
"Samsung will probably confirm the status (of the merger) officially when a product is ready, not prematurely," said Thomas Kang, a director with research firm Strategy Analytics. Samsung has also used other operating systems -- Kang mentioned Palm OS and Tizen's Linux-based predecessor LiMo, but the company has also released phones running Symbian OS, Android and, more recently, Windows Phone -- "so there is enough room in Samsung's portfolio to test another one," he said.
Samsung has largely relied on Google's Android OS in its hottest-selling phones, but may have reason to keep alternatives ready. While Android is open source and available to manufacturer, Google announced plans last year to acquire Samsung rival Motorola Mobility, which would allow it to make its own Android phones. This sparked concerns that Google might eventually favor Motorola over other handset vendors with its Android OS, something Google denies.
Despite the possible merger of bada and Tizen providing an alternative OS for the company, Samsung will still heavily focus on using Android to compete with Apple's products, Kang said. Tizen, however, could provide an additional OS that can not only be used on smartphones and tablets, but also TVs and other consumer gadgets, he said.
Samsung will continue to support open-source based development and work with other "industry stakeholders," it said in its statement Wednesday.