Samsung is making a push into the mobile software and services market with its Tizen operating system, and plans to launch a new smartphone featuring the system in Russia and India shortly, according to The Wall Street Journal.
By moving into the mobile operating system space, Samsung puts itself in direct competition with the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft. Samsung smartphones currently run on Android operating systems, and a successful Tizen launch could loosen Google’s grip on the market.
Android held a remarkable 78.4 percent share of the smartphone operating system market in 2013, according to research by Gartner. Apple’s iOS was the second most popular, accounting for 15.6 percent. Microsoft and Blackberry followed with 3.2 percent and 1.9 percent of the market, respectively. Android’s dominance makes the OS space a daunting one to enter. But Samsung is the clear market leader in smartphone device sales, and if the South Korean company were to switch all of its devices to its own operating system, the landscape would change dramatically.
Samsung boasts a 29.5 percent share of the devices market, according to fourth quarter 2013 data from Gartner. That puts the Korean company well ahead of Apple, which captured 17.8 percent of the market. The introduction of Tizen will not mean that Samsung will shift all of its future devices to its own operating system, but a successful debut in emerging markets could initiate a gradual move towards the in-house system.
Targeting expanding markets such as India and Russia will afford Samsung the opportunity to establish Tizen in territories where smartphone sales are growing rapidly. A recent report by CyberMedia Research revealed that smartphone shipments in India increased over 219 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same period last year. A total of 14.5 million units were shipped between January and March of this year, compared to 6.6 million units a year ago. The research also stated that over half of the handsets shipped were 3G enabled. India, already a huge market, has a long way to go before it unlocks its full potential. Making a play for the untapped section of that market would create a huge user base for Tizen.
The same can be said for Russia, where the operating system will be launched first. Russia is a massive market with great potential for expansion, and, along with India, offers ideal conditions for a budget smartphone play. Tizen, an open source, Linux-based OS, was built for use in low-cost devices.
With Tizen as a foundation, Samsung can build its own operational template –– meaning it will no longer have to share revenue with Google. The company also has the option to launch its own app market, and again take money away from Google and into its own pockets.