Samsung Tizen phone launching this year
Samsung and potentially Huawei, will release a smartphone powered by Tizen some time this year
Samsung will release a smartphone powered by Tizen this year and it could be the start of the company's shift away from Android.
Tizen is an open source platform that is run by a not-for-profit organization. It is backed by the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Sprint and others, but many point to Samsung as the main player behind it. As Tizen hit its 2.0 version, Samsung said that it will be folding its Bada platform into it.
Reports suggest that we can expect to see a Tizen phone on Orange in France some time this year and it will then go to emerging markets next year. Samsung even gave out a developer handset with Tizen at Mobile World Congress 2013 and our friends at Engadget got their hands on it. You can watch a video below walking through the Tizen device.
Looking long term, Tizen may give Samsung the ammunition to ditch Android if it really wanted to. The interface looks pretty similar (icons in a grid) and it appears powerful enough to support handsets that have 720p HD screens. I could see Samsung one day throwing its TouchWiz UI on top of Tizen and releasing a full-fledged Galaxy S phone.
The advantages of that would be that Samsung would be more in control of its own destiny. Right now, it still waits for Google to make the major advances on the software side with Android. This is the same Google that recently purchased Motorola and may have ambitions to strongly push its own lineup of devices. We've also heard rumblings that Google may be a bit uncomfortable with Samsung's success.
Of course, moving to Tizen would be a long, painful process that may never work out for Samsung. The app selection would be woefully behind and it's no guarantee that a Tizen phone can deliver the type of high-end experience customers expect from Samsung's Android-powered devices.
More than likely, Tizen will be a competitor against Firefox OS and some of the other alternative platforms that are going after the emerging markets. Still, let's keep an eye on Tizen and see how it fits into Samsung's long-term plans.