Samsung Electronics continues to place its bets on the Tizen operating system for smartphones, with the launch Tuesday in India of a 4G enabled smartphone priced at 4,590 rupees (US$68).
The company’s Tizen phones have not very successful in the country, and the new device is not likely to disrupt the market in which Android phones dominate, said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner. “The previous Tizen phones were good, but people were not used to the operating system,” he added.
The Z2 is the third Tizen phone the company is launching in India. It was preceded by the Z1 and Z3. India has been a primary target market for Samsung's Tizen phones because of the country's large number of price-sensitive customers.
The new 4-inch WVGA screen phone has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory, expandable up to 128GB with a microSD card, and a dual SIM. It is powered by a 1500mAh battery. The phone has a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a VGA front camera.
The Z2 also has features developed specifically for Indian consumers. One such feature is an Ultra Data Saving mode that Samsung claims saves up to 40 percent of mobile data use by blocking unnecessary background applications from data consumption and by data compression technology. Samsung Z2 also comes with a dedicated S bike mode, which filters incoming calls when the biker is riding.
Samsung has used the Tizen operating system on a variety of devices, including home appliances and wearables, and has indicated that it plans to have Tizen as a centerpiece of its strategy in the internet of things market.
Growing the share of Tizen would help Samsung reduce its dependence on Google and have higher control over the device hardware and software, making them easier to manage, Tripathi said.
A big challenge for Samsung is that it is not easy to entice users to shift from Android, unless you offer them compelling differentiation like ease of use, security, or interesting apps, Tripathi said.
Samsung is trying to make up for the smaller app base on Tizen by teaming up in India with Reliance Jio, a startup telecommunications operator, backed by the large Reliance group and offering apps such as video streaming and music. Samsung has also partnered with a local mobile commerce platform, Paytm, which claims 130 million customers. Samsung is offering free 4G voice and data for 90 days from Jio while the operator tests its network.
These partnerships may help Samsung initially, but they are not exclusive, Tripathi said. Jio also sells its own branded phones.
The Z2 will ship in India started Aug. 29 and will come in gold, black, and wine red colors.
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