March 15, 2013, 5:34 PM — Samsung is planning to release a high-end smartphone running on the open-source Tizen operating system in August or September, the company confirmed Friday.
Samsung makes half of the Android-based smartphones globally, and Android now has more than 70% of the global smartphone market, according to research firms IDC and Gartner. The confirmation of a phone running Tizen came hours after Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 smartphone running Android 4.2.2 in a lavish Broadway-style production from New York City.
During the New York unveiling, analysts noticed that Samsung barely mentioned that the Galaxy S4 runs on Android. Some speculated that Samsung was setting the stage for greater use of Tizen as an OS. In a Bloomberg news service interview from Seoul, Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung mobile, said the Tizen smartphone "will be in the high-end category" and "the best product equipped with best specifications."
Samsung officials did not respond to a Computerworld request to elaborate on the Tizen news and specifically whether Samsung would sell it in the U.S.
Kevin Burden, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said Samsung is motivated to move away from Android, partly because it wants greater control over the operating system in its phones. Samsung, Intel and Sprint are working together on further development of Tizen, although it appears several other manufacturers plan to use the OS.
For months since Google acquired Motorola, analysts have speculated that Samsung and other manufacturers of phones running Android would be seeking alternatives to Google's Android. The phone makers figured Android would become the favored platform for Motorola, which would likely put them at a disadvantage.
While Samsung runs Android 4.2.2, the latest version, on the Galaxy S4, it is evident that the OS will begin to fall out of date once Google announces an upgrade, probably at the Google I/O conference in May. That next generation of Android is expected to be called Key Lime Pie, following the current designation of 4.2 as Jelly Bean. (Google has used sweets in alphabetical order to name the Android upgrades.)