Right now, there’s only one Samsung phone anyone cares about, but that may not be the case later this year, when the world’s first Tizen phone hits the shops. Tizen, in case you’ve forgotten, is the open-source software developed by Samsung, Intel and a gaggle of networks around the world; all of whom are hoping it’ll be seen as an alternative to Google Android.
Samsung’s vice president of mobile has been chatting with Bloomberg about the impending launch of Tizen, saying we’ll see the first phone using the OS from the manufacturer in August or September this year. This isn’t too far removed from previous information we’ve received, as a Samsung representative said in January Tizen was on track for a summer launch. The approximate date was then reiterated during Mobile World Congress in late February.
The really interesting news came when he revealed a little about the phone on which the software will make its debut, saying, “The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications.”
Those of you with long memories will recall Samsung’s ill-fated Bada operating system, which was launched in 2010 and eventually killed off in favor of Tizen. Well, Samsung’s first phone to use Bada was the S8500 Wave, and it was very close in specification to the very first Galaxy S smartphone, the i9000. They shared the same screen technology and resolution, the same Hummingbird 1GHz processor, and the same 5-megapixel camera. The only difference was the screen size, as the Wave made do with 3.3-inches instead of the 4-inch display on the i9000.
If Samsung wants the world to take notice of Tizen, it needs an exciting flagship phone, even if the OS’s destiny doesn’t lie on such expensive hardware. While a Galaxy S4-style Tizen phone may be wishful thinking, a variation on the Galaxy S3 is a strong possibility. Samsung has shown us with the Galaxy S2 Plus that it’s not afraid to resurrect aging phones if there’s the chance of picking up a few sales.
If Tizen didn’t already have its work cut out against Android, iOS and Windows Phone, it’s one of several other new mobile platforms which will debut this year, making the need for a headlining phone when it comes to launch day all the more important.
Updated on 03/15/13 at 10:40am by Andy: Samsung’s President JK Shin has also weighed in on the subject of the firm’s Tizen phones. He told the Wall Street Journal the first phone would be out during the third quarter this year, which fits in neatly with the above report.