Samsung said today it will release its first smartphone, the Samsung Z, which operates on its own Tizen operating system.
The smartphone, available in either black or gold, will be released in the third quarter of this year in Russia before expanding to other markets in an unannounced time frame.
The reports of the Samsung potentially releasing a Tizen-based smartphone and moving away from Google's Android operating system have been swirling for almost two full months, but the South-Korean-based company made it official this morning through its blog.
"Samsung is committed to enhancing the mobile experience of consumers with innovation that is both personal and unique to their needs," said DJ Lee, president and head of Global Sales & Marketing Office, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, through Samsung's official blog. "The Samsung Z integrates the power and adaptability of the Tizen platform, enabling users to browse the web faster and utilize applications more effectively.”
The device will feature a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display (1,280-x-720), a 2.3GHz quad core processor, an 8MP rear camera and a 2.1 MP front-facing camera, 16 GB of memory, and can support up to 64 GB.
Much like the Galaxy S5, the Samsung Z also will pack a built-in fingerprint sensor along with a feature called "Ultra Power Saving Mode," which allows the device to stay on, even when the battery is low.
But the biggest new tech spec of the smartphone is the operating system -- Tizen 2.2.1 and not Android. Tizen has been the OS of Samsung’s smartwatches, but has yet to be on any tablet or smartphone.
"I think it's a bold move on their part," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, Ontario-based solution provider, on the change in operating systems. "Everything is a bit of a gamble when you make a big change, but there is an opportunity for them to differentiate themselves from the competition. If they can cut themselves out of the herd and do it a little differently, I think it’s a great move for them.”
Grosfield sees the move away from Android being successful for Samsung depending on how strong the user interface of Tizen is on a smartphone and how easy it is to secure. He also sees it as a plus that the OS seems to be aesthetically pleasing at first glance.
He also doesn't believe the announcement of an OS change coming on the morning of Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference is a coincidence.
"Probably the highest-stress-level jobs in the world are these marketers for mobile devices vendors deciding when to make these announcements,” Grossfield said. “It’s a whisper versus a roar of deciding when to release these products. Whoever comes out first and announces something special gets the spotlight; everyone else is just playing ‘me too’ at that point.”
PUBLISHED JUNE 2, 2014