Samsung Z3: A new smartphone, a new platform, but recipe for oblivion?

What’s so special about the Samsung Z3? Probably the OS. Tizen. A new mobile operating system would be great if it aims to take over the whole mobile ecosystem. With Tizen, we’re not quite sure.

What’s so special about the Samsung Z3? Probably the OS. Tizen. A new mobile operating system would be great if it aims to take over the whole mobile ecosystem. With Tizen, we’re not quite sure.

The first attempt by Samsung at a new mobile operating system was Bada. And it did so with a great deal of effort. It was eventually scrapped in 2012. How many of you know of Bada, without heading to Google?

We did use the initial bada devices released by Samsung. Just when we nearly gave up on it, Samsung announced it was going ahead with version 2. That new lease of life was to transition to Tizen.

Samsung Z3: A new smartphone, a new platform, but recipe for oblivion?

Then there was silence. We didn't hear much from Samsung. For a prolonged period of time. Over these past 3 years, we’ve seen attempts of all kinds – Ubuntu Mobile, Tizen, Firefox OS. Platforms such as Jolla enjoyed the reputation of being backed by the brains at Nokia, which was disintegrating. What these platforms have managed to do is to bring its developer base – the audience that gives preferential treatment to their best platforms to build apps. In the hope that the high app numbers would pull in a larger customer base.

With Firefox OS, the intention was to enable open web developers to bring in their expertise of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to build apps that run on a browser. Technically, the phone ran on a browser. Conceptually, that’s an interesting idea where everything runs on a browser. Practically, it comes down to user experience. What do you do when your phone behaves erratically? Or software patches aren’t regular? We don't hear a lot about it, for good reason.

There’s an unwritten rule in the product lifecycle of a gadget, especially one that has hardware and software talking to each other. The third iteration is the best. Ideally, an iteration happens once a year, mostly due to financial year compulsions and investor interests.

Coming back to Tizen, it’s still taking the time needed for approximately three iterations of a product. To take off! We’ve been hearing about Tizen forever. It began with just Samsung, but has now become one grand alliance involving Intel and several others. And that was January 2012. We’ll be heading to January 2016 in 3 months. Over these 4 years, Google munched some jellybeans, had KitKat for dessert, enjoyed lollipops during the summer holidays and is currently gearing up for winter with some marshmallow, may be with a bonfire.

As far as Apple is concerned, what did they offer in these four years? You might find this surprising, but iOS went from version 5.1.1 in 2012 to version 9.0.2!

It’s hard to believe that Google and Apple are able to do much more than Samsung, Intel, Huawei, Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic, KT Corporation, Sprint Corporation, SK Telecom, Orange, NTT Docomo and Vodafone put together.

In early 2014, NTT Docomo, Orange, Sprint and Telefonica pulled out of Tizen. The reason given by these operators was along the lines of 'lack of consumer interest in yet another mobile platform.' There’s an age old philosophy, that there always exists opportunity in an ever expanding market. But when it comes to the mobile and smartphone space, a known mobile platform is better than the unknown.

From the struggles of BlackBerry to Microsoft over the third mobile operating system, there's much more than launching devices. It's the choice of engaging and immersive apps that determine the ability and potential to succeed. It seems unlikely though, that Tizen would win the battle of the titans.

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