Samsung hedges Android bet with first Tizen phone

The Samsung Z will hit Russia this year

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After making its way into Samsung cameras and smartwatches, the Tizen operating system is finally on a phone. The Samsung Z is the first Tizen smartphone, representing a third pillar alongside Samsung's efforts with Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone. Samsung calls it a "premium" device, but the specifications are fairly pedestrian: a 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED display, a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, and an 8-megapixel camera. Like the Android-based Galaxy S5, it includes a fingerprint sensor.

"...a faster startup time and immediate multi-tasking capabilities"

Why Tizen? Samsung says the open-source OS delivers "a fast, optimal performance with improved memory management" along with "a faster startup time and immediate multi-tasking capabilities." The company is also touting Tizen's web rendering and scrolling performance. Of course, the phone will have a major disadvantage right out of the gate — unlike Samsung's Galaxy line, the Z won't have access to the vast ecosystem of Android apps that has been built up over recent years. And the stock version of Tizen doesn't appear to push too many boundaries in terms of interface design, meaning the Z does little to differentiate itself at first blush.

That said, it's still early days for Tizen. The Z is only confirmed to launch in Russia at present; it'll be released in Q3 there, and should come to other markets later. Samsung will also show the phone off at a Tizen developers conference in San Francisco this week, where the company will attempt to shore up support for the fledgling OS' ecosystem.

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