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Is Tizen a Threat to Android?

January 4, 2013 - Written By Doug Scudder

First off, what the flip is Tizen? Tizen is an open-source operating system which resides in the Linux Foundation. Its primary governing board is the Technical Steering Group (TSG). The TSG is controlled by Samsung and Intel, for the most part. The reason Tizen has been in the news recently is that Samsung has announced that it will be releasing multiple Tizen handsets in 2013. Will these be flagship, high-end smartphones? Will developers get on board? Does the marketplace have room for another open-source mobile OS? These are all important questions that will be answered over the coming months, and Android Headlines will be here to bring you the most relevant Android news as it happens. But back to our original question: Is Tizen a threat to Android?

Samsung isn’t just dominating the Android market these days. They are dominating the smart phone market. In 2013 Samsung is expected to secure a 33% share of the smart phone market, and that lead may continue to grow in 2014. But Samsung isn’t in a place to sell content, control what features that Google decides to add to Android, or develop its own ecosystem. But this isn’t the only reason that Samsung is worried about the direction Android is headed.

Back in May, Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $13.3 billion. And although Google has claimed that it won’t be showing favoritism to Motorola in regards to choosing a Nexus device, it would be foolish for OEMs like Samsung to not be worried about this development. If Android becomes an operating system that is built by and for Motorola hardware, Samsung could see its ability to innovate curtailed in the near future. As more and more users are becoming used to the TouchWiz skin that Samsung wraps around Android, software features are becoming an increasingly touted selling point for Samsung devices. If Samsung’s customers are already using a heavily customized version of Android, why wouldn’t they just build their own OS and cut Google out of the equation entirely?

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The biggest hurdle for Tizen to overcome will be the same hurdle that any young OS has to deal with: attracting developers. It doesn’t matter how innovative or intuitive your mobile OS is, if people can’t do all the things that their friends can do with their smart phone, they won’t buy the device. Even with the massive community surrounding Android, it is still lagging behind iOS in some aspects of app development, even after all these years. But Android didn’t have a giant OEM like Samsung behind it when it first launched, so maybe that will make all the difference.

Tizen will certainly be an interesting player in the smart-phone market in 2013. And competition is always healthy in any market. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep about Tizen sneaking up on Android in the near future. It will certainly be an up hill battle, and at this point we don’t know exactly how much Samsung and Intel are willing to invest in this venture. So once again, we shall wait and see what 2013 brings us.