February 23, 2013, 7:35 AM — Samsung is tired of watching Apple run away with most of the money in mobile. Now, the Korean giant is making a big play to become like Apple -- a company that makes not only the hardware, but also the software and the store where you buy stuff.
Samsung also wants to be like Google and make money from mobile advertising.
In order to own the software platform that powers its phones, Samsung needs to drop Android. But can Samsung pull this off without wrecking a good thing?
Samsung's big play in Silicon Valley
Samsung this week announced something called the Open Innovation Center, which is located in two places -- Silicon Valley and New York City.
The purpose of the center, headed by former Google executive David Eun, is to enable Samsung to benefit from software innovation. The organization will act as an incubator, providing salaries and benefits to entrepreneurs while they semi-autonomously create new ideas within the company. It will also act as a venture capitalist, investing in outside startups and organizing software-company acquisitions for Samsung.
Samsung hopes the Open Innovation Center will accelerate the growth of the app ecosystem for its new Android replacement, called Tizen.
It's not complicated. Samsung wants to transition from a hardware company to a company more like Apple -- one that makes money from hardware, software, apps, services and advertising.
Here comes Tizen
Samsung is working with Intel to develop a Linux-based operating system called Tizen. The software is designed to power smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and even in-car devices.
It's a direct competitor with, and alternative to, Google's Android platform.
The first demonstration of Tizen running on actual Samsung hardware is expected to take place at Mobile World Congress this month in Barcelona, where I'm currently located and awaiting the big show.
(Tizen software has previously been seen only on "reference" hardware distributed to developers so they could build apps for it.)