If you’ve been holding out for a smartphone running Tizen, chances are you’re feeling a little frustrated at the moment. Rumors last month claimed that Samsung was planning to officially launch its first Tizen smartphone at MWC 2014, but so far, there hasn’t been any talk of such a device. There may just be a light at the end of the tunnel though, as Chairman Ryoichi Roy Sugimara told CNET at MWC 2014 that the first Tizen smartphone should be out sometime this year.
Of course, he didn’t get any more specific than that and this isn’t the first we’ve heard promises of a Tizen smartphone before, so details on a more precise launch date will have to wait. Just as well, information on where the first Tizen smartphone will release was noticeably absent, and picking the right launch markets is going to be key if Tizen is going to succeed in a world dominated by iOS and Android. Going head to head with the reigning champions of mobile OS is something Sugimara doesn’t seem all that inclined to do, asking why he would introduce his “baby” into such a cutthroat market.
So, if he wants to limit direct competition with Apple and Google as much as possible, it seems that launching in emerging markets would be the answer. Indeed, we’ve been seeing Tizen attempt to gather up partnerships in places like China, recently adding manufacturers like ZTE to the list. Working together with manufacturers and carriers in China could potentially help Tizen gain some ground in the mid-tier market, which seems like the best market for an up and coming operating system to try to tackle. We can sit here and speculate all day though, but it doesn’t mean much without a firm release date for the first Tizen smartphone. CNET points out that Sugimara and Tizen are taking a cautious approach to release, and while that’s certainly appropriate given the current market, we’re hoping that this caution doesn’t turn into a string of delays that ultimately sees devices supporting the OS launching after interest has moved on. With Tizen announcing 15 new partners at MWC 2014, things are at least looking up, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for more concrete details to follow soon. Stay tuned.