We're just two weeks into 2015, but Samsung's already made more progress with its in-house Tizen OS than it had in all the previous years combined. Tizen now graces Samsung's new line of premium SUHD TVs, there's finally a real Tizen smartphone (albeit a distinctly low-end one), and the Korean company promises that the rest of the year will bring "a flood of devices" running its operating system.
A new article on the Samsung Tomorrow website boldly proclaims that the Tizen-powered smartwatches, cameras, TVs, and the new Z1 smartphone that we've seen so far are "just the tip of the iceberg." Tizen will be a crucial part of Samsung's future Internet of Things strategy, helping to connect and smarten up devices and appliances around our homes and beyond. In making the argument for Tizen's strengths, Samsung says it "requires less processing power and memory, thereby ensuring faster device speeds while consuming less energy." It's safe to assume that the benchmark Tizen is being compared against is Google's Android platform. Android is expanding beyond its smartphone origins with tailored versions like Android Wear and Android TV serving the emerging connectivity needs of specific device categories.
"These devices are just the tip of the iceberg."
Samsung's desperate desire to diversify away from its dependance on Google — which Sony has chosen to embrace rather than fight — has kept it persisting with the development of Tizen in spite of little external encouragement or support. While it's inevitable that Samsung's future devices will need to be both smart and connected, the Korean company is keen to make sure that they achieve this, at least in part, through the use of its own software. To encourage developers to jump on board and help build an ecosystem around its anticipated Tizen deluge, Samsung points out that it sold 665 million devices last year, which "could translate into a lot of Tizen."
The renewed effort and investment into pushing Tizen as its own legitimate platform won't, argues Samsung, come at the expense of other operating systems. Samsung says that it places a "foremost emphasis on openness" and remains open to other software. Tizen is still far from being able to challenge Android on phones (and it's doubtful that it'll ever get there), but the way it's being positioned and promoted by Samsung in other areas puts it in direct confrontation with Google's expansionary plans. No matter how conciliatory Samsung's tone may be, today's announcement of an expanding Tizen OS is a clear signal of its intent to challenge and compete with Google for the next wave of connected devices.