Orange backs off 2013 plan for Tizen smartphones

The operator is no longer scheduling sales starting this year

By , IDG News Service |  

Tizen's struggles once again underline how difficult it is to compete with Android and iOS. Google's OS tightened its grip on the smartphone market and captured a record 81 percent share during the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

"I think it will be very difficult for Samsung to position Tizen against Android, because Android has been such an astounding success. Why do you then need a second platform?" said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

The problems with getting Tizen ready are not a surprise: "There has been at least one point where it was supposed to be launched and wasn't, possibly two, depending on who you listen to. But mobile software is notoriously difficult to develop," Mawston said.

Another analyst agreed.

"Creating a new software platform from scratch is not an easy thing to do," said Geoff Blaber, vice president of research for the Americas at CCS Insight. "There are a lot of pieces that need to be aligned in order to create products that are competitive versus what is now a very mature proposition with Android ... I think Samsung has also learned from Bada in particular that if you are going to launch a new OS you have to make sure its right from day one."

Bada is a smartphone platform Samsung developed in-house. Its limited success is still haunting the company, according to Mawston.

"There will always be that nagging worry at the back of Samsung's mind, I think, that it didn't take off," he said.

Getting the first phones out there is only the first challenge for the Tizen camp.

"Tizen's biggest challenge in the smartphone space is its very close affiliations with Samsung. Other vendors will be very nervous about getting deeply committed to a software platform that firstly faces an uphill challenge to develop an ecosystem and second of all stands only to make their biggest competitor stronger," Blaber said.

"I think there will be a Tizen portfolio at some point in 2014 or 2015," Mawston said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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