After Samsung announced that it would be releasing multiple Tizen-based smart phones in 2013 at Mobile World Congress last month there was some speculation that this might be the first step towards Samsung dumping Android altogether. But Rory Maher from Hillside Partners thinks that is unlikely. In a report released today he had this to say:
In February 2013 there was significant coverage around Mobile World Congress that Samsung would fold its fledgling mobile OS Bada into open source mobile OS Tizen and release phones built on the Tizen OS in 2013. However, we note that Bada was only able to achieve 3% market share since its launch in mid-2010. Despite growing respectfully in 2012 we believe Bada was likely folded into Tizen because it couldn’t gain the critical mass to warrant Samsung putting more resources into the initiative. Still, we don’t believe that the addition of some Samsung phones to the handful of phones that currently run Tizen will provide the momentum Tizen will need to surpass the share gains made by Bada […] We found 1,373 comments on Facebook during a 12 hour period on Monday 3/11 so we believe consumer awareness of the product is growing. The overwhelming majority were enthusiastic about an alternative to other OS’, but over 70% were from countries in Eastern Europe or Asia. This supports reports we’ve heard that manufacturers will release Tizen phones primarily in Asia initially.
In case the name “Tizen” is new to you, Tizen is an open source operating system that is controlled by Samsung and Intel. And as the quote above shows, it is new and has yet to gain even a shadow of a following, especially not here in the United States. Remember that Samsung was responsible for 40% of all Android devices sold in 2012, so it makes sense that at least for now, Samsung would see its future being closely tied to Android. And although it is possible that in the next few years we will see more and more apps moving to being browser or cloud-based there will always be a need for powerful native apps on mobile devices. At the very least any high-end game will certainly always require a native install to render graphics and game-play smoothly.
So it looks like all the chatter at MWC about Tizen was just that – chatter – after all. But there are other mobile operating systems looking to steal market share from Android and iOS. Opera, Firefox and Windows Mobile are all hoping to make gains in 2013. But will they be able to reach that critical mass? Only time will tell.