Samsung's Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-08-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Samsung's Tizen mobile operating system is under fire. Some industry pundits have called the operating system, which is open-source and designed to take on Android, a failure, even though it has reached the market in only a few minor mobile products and really hasn't had a chance to show its worth. Just recently, in fact, Huawei, a top China-based device and telecommunications equipment maker, said that it researched the possibility of using Tizen but found that it couldn't serve its needs. The company said that it sees Tizen failing eventually with no chance of competing against the likes of Android and others. Samsung, the company behind Tizen, has been silent on the complaints about its operating system. While the company has acknowledged that it has faced some challenges in design, it's still saying publicly that it can make Tizen a mainstream option in the mobile space. Samsung has even said Tizen could be an ideal choice for wearables, where the company has already brought the operating system to some of its devices. The truth, however, is not as simple as Samsung would have the market believe. This eWEEK slide show looks at the reasons why Tizen may have a hard time proving itself as a viable alternative to Android or any other mobile operating system.

 
 
 
  • Samsung's Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits

    By Don Reisinger
    Samsung's Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits
  • Android Is a Dominant Force

    It could be extremely difficult for Tizen to gain significant traction in the mobile market when Android is already so dominant. During the second quarter of 2014, Android accounted for nearly 85 percent of all worldwide shipments, while iOS was able to snag about 12 percent of the market. That left precious little market share for all the other mobile operating systems and leaves scant growing room for a contender that doesn't arrive with superlative technological credentials. After all, if so many people are pleased with Android, how likely is it that they'll switch?
    Android Is a Dominant Force
  • Getting Developers to Join the Movement Will Be Difficult

    A major component in the success of a platform is developer support. As Android and iOS continue to reign supreme, software makers are focusing their finite resources on those platforms. Operating systems like BlackBerry and Windows Phone have both suffered as a result. Samsung is trying to enter the market with something new and start from scratch on the app side. That could prove to be a huge uphill battle for the company.
    Getting Developers to Join the Movement Will Be Difficult
  • It's Only Proven Itself in Wearables

    Tizen has yet to prove itself in any market but wearables. The operating system works quite well on Samsung's line of wearable devices, but in the smartphone space, it's yet to actually come out and make a splash. Until Samsung can prove that Tizen can actually make it in the smartphone space, it's hard to see how the OS will make a major impact on the market.
    It's Only Proven Itself in Wearables
  • Other Hardware Partners Might Be Hard to Come By

    When Huawei said it wouldn't support Tizen, the company seemed to indicate that part of the reason was Samsung's backing. Huawei and Samsung are sworn enemies in China, and the very thought of working with an arch-nemesis couldn't be swallowed by Huawei. It's possible that other hardware companies might feel the same way. After all, why use an operating system that has been developed by a top competitor when a more popular option created by Google is already there for the taking?
    Other Hardware Partners Might Be Hard to Come By
  • Not Even Samsung Is Admitting Its Value

    Samsung has been rather coy in its evaluation of Tizen to this point. While the company hasn't said that it sees no value in Tizen, it has made it clear that it needs to get the operating system right before it can bring it to smartphones. That issue is why the Samsung Z was delayed indefinitely and why Samsung's roadmap currently shows no Tizen-based devices in the pipeline.
    Not Even Samsung Is Admitting Its Value
  • Where Are All Those Tizen-Based Smartphones?

    At one point, Samsung promised that Tizen-based smartphones would be made available from a wide range of vendors. In fact, the company said that 2014 could be an important year for third-party support of Tizen. However, few third parties have jumped on the operating system's bandwagon, and Samsung has been quiet on why that might be. Until more devices hit store shelves, it's hard to see how Tizen can even be considered a competitor to any other OS on the market.
    Where Are All Those Tizen-Based Smartphones?
  • Solving the Educational Problem Could Be Difficult

    So, what exactly is Tizen and why do I need it? Answering the question could be more difficult for Samsung than it might want to acknowledge. After all, Tizen would present an entirely new OS experience for the consumer market, and it has a slightly different design and functionality. Samsung needs to first educate the public on what Tizen is and why it's a worthwhile platform before it can even come close to selling many Tizen-based devices. Android, iOS and even Windows Phone have already overcome the educational phase. Tizen hasn't. And that's a problem.
    Solving the Educational Problem Could Be Difficult
  • There's Always iOS to Contend With

    Although Tizen's top competitor is Android, it's hard not to put it up against Apple. That company's iOS platform is the second-most-popular mobile operating system in the world and the benchmark by which all other products are judged. If Tizen isn't viewed at least on the same plane as iOS, it'll be in for trouble.
    There's Always iOS to Contend With
  • Samsung Might Have Bigger Problems Right Now

    As Samsung tries to weave its way through the difficult mobile operating system market, the company must also contend with its own share of issues in other parts of its operation. For one thing, Samsung is facing stiffer competition in the key Chinese market. Samsung is also experiencing lower margins, increased costs to get its products to its global markets, and some concern that customers are starting to move on and try out other platforms. Samsung needs to focus on these critical issues, and that may mean devoting fewer resources and time to making Tizen a success.
    Samsung Might Have Bigger Problems Right Now
  • Trying to Do Too Much Isn't Always a Good Thing

    Is Tizen really best for all the possible platforms Samsung can think of at any given time? Earlier this year, Samsung showed off Tizen on its smart TVs. The company is also offering it in wearables, and wants it to work on smartphones and tablets. Whether Tizen is that agile and can work on so many platforms might not matter. Perhaps Samsung should focus on the core mobile market and worry about everything else later.
    Trying to Do Too Much Isn't Always a Good Thing
 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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