Samsung's Tizen-Based Z Handset Poses Future Challenge to Android

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-06-03 Print this article Print

Although Apple received much of the attention on June 2 for software-focused announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Samsung made a bit of a splash with the Samsung Z smartphone. But this handset is different in one important respect. The Samsung Z is the company's first smartphone model running the Tizen operating system that was developed in-house. Judging from the effort Samsung put into this announcement, the Samsung Z won't be the last Tizen-based handset the company launches. Tizen, a Linux-based operating system, has taken a circuitous path to the smartphone market. The operating system is being developed as a project within the Linux Foundation by Samsung, Intel and others in the mobile industry. It's being offered to the market in the same way that Google introduced Android. Tizen was built into Samsung's Galaxy Gear 2 and is now being baked into last year's Galaxy Gear smartwatch model. Tizen has been in development for years and originates from the old Samsung Linux Platform. But the question is what can the Tizen-based Samsung Z offer customers that an Android-based alternative might not? This slide show looks at what the Samsung Z offers prospective buyers.

  • Samsung's Tizen-Based Z Handset Poses Future Challenge to Android

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Samsung's Tizen-Based Z Handset Poses Future Challenge to Android
  • It's All About Tizen

    If not for Tizen, the Samsung Z wouldn't be getting so much attention. Tizen is an open-source operating system that could very well pose a mobile market challenge to Android one day for supremacy—or at least that's what Samsung and Intel hope. Tizen comes with the typical feature set that people expect in a smartphone today, such as a built-in browser and calendar app. But it's also developed in part by the Linux Foundation, and some could argue that because of that, its code is more "open" than the alternative, Android. Either way, Tizen is a nice-looking platform, but it has a long way to go to catch Android.
    2 - It's All About Tizen
  • It's No Galaxy S5

    The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the company's flagship smartphone. And while the Samsung Z comes with some nice features, like a 4.8-inch 720 HD display, it can't match the Galaxy S5 on several levels. For one thing, the Galaxy S5 has a bigger, better screen and features a much nicer design than anything else Samsung is peddling right now. The Samsung Z is the company's flagship Tizen device right now, but it's not on the same level as the Galaxy S 5.
    3 - It's No Galaxy S5
  • Short On Memory Options

    For overall storage, the Samsung Z is a little short on options. The device comes with just 16GB of internal memory—there's no 32GB option available at launch—and can only take a microSD card with up to 64GB of storage space. While that might combine for a nice amount of storage for some, it's far below Android-based flagship models on the market.
    4 - Short On Memory Options
  • Many of the Standard Features

    There is much of what one would expect from a Samsung device in the Z. The device has a 2.3GHz quad-core processor. It supports Near-Field Communication (NFC), and has full support for Bluetooth 4.0. The handset can also act as an IR remote and boasts a heart rate sensor for its S Health 3.0 integration.
    5 - Many of the Standard Features
  • A Solid Camera

    Overall, the camera built into the Samsung Z appears to be quite nice. The rear-facing component has an 8-megapixel resolution while the front-facing option is 2.1 megapixels. The rear-facing camera allows for Panorama support, the ability to choose the "best photo" and has "Quick Shot" functionality for catching moments on the fly. The front-facing camera isn't rated "selfie" like those from LG and HTC, but at 2.1 megapixels, it'll do the trick for those snapping images of themselves.
    6 - A Solid Camera
  • Samsung's Own Apps Will Play a Role

    Samsung has, of course, built its applications into the Z. As noted, the device comes with Samsung's S Health 3.0 app, which tracks health information for the user. In addition, the software provides access to Samsung's own application marketplace for Tizen programs. Samsung apps have a strong presence within Tizen.
    7 - Samsung's Own Apps Will Play a Role
  • But Samsung Needs to Build a Tizen Apps Market

    There's a huge question mark with the Samsung Z: its application marketplace. Samsung's apps marketplace on Tizen is yet another place for developers to go to offer programs, and is somewhat light on available apps at the moment. To fix that, Samsung is launching "local app challenges" in Russia and other countries to boost the available apps. Samsung has also offered millions of dollars in prizes and funding to coax developers to Tizen. We'll have to see if it works.
    8 - But Samsung Needs to Build a Tizen Apps Market
  • Samsung Kept the Hardware Design Simple

    Surprisingly, Samsung hasn't gone all out to design a standout Tizen-based smartphone. The Z resembles devices dating back to 2012 in some ways, with its heavy bezel above and below the screen and simple, black plastic finish. Compared with the Galaxy S5, the Samsung Z can't compete on design.
    9 - Samsung Kept the Hardware Design Simple
  • Ultra Power Saving Is Built In

    Samsung has built an important feature into the Z that might appeal to enterprise customers more than any others: Ultra Power Saving Mode. The feature lets the phone stay operational even when its battery is nearly entirely drained. However, when in that state, the device can only be used for emergencies and other features built into the handset are stripped away. It's an important feature for travelers who might need to make one important call before the handset dies.
    10 - Ultra Power Saving Is Built In
  • Samsung Z Goes On Sale in Russia First

    The Samsung Z is launching in Russia to kick things off. Samsung has been tight-lipped on future launch plans, but it's expected to bring the device to other test markets at some point. It appears Samsung wants to gauge interest in Tizen in Russia and then eventually bring Tizen-based models to other markets in the future.
    11 - Samsung Z Goes On Sale in Russia First

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