According to a report today from Korean publication Korea Times, Samsung, the company that recently regained the top spot from Apple as number one smartphone OEM in the US, is considering moving all of its devices to its own Tizen operating system. This news follows a report from Fast Company last month suggesting a related move — that the company plans to move away from Android Wear for future smartwatches…
Smartwatches running Android Wear have always been an afterthought for the Korean company, but now it seems more likely than ever that more than just smartwatches are going the way of Tizen. Samsung plans to “cut its heavy reliance on the Google Android platform,” according to Korea Times. “If you don’t have your own ecosystem, then you will have no future,” an unnamed Samsung executive told the publication.
Samsung’s Z smartphones available in India have been “popular with Indian consumers,” the executive said. “During the first quarter of this year, Samsung sold about 64 million phones there.” Clearly, though, the company needs a much more robust ecosystem before such a platform would be able to thrive on phones in the United States and elsewhere. While the company is late to the game, “Samsung is getting much better,” this executive said.
The executive also reportedly said that “more incentives and support will be provided to Tizen developers,” although he or she didn’t provide any details.
Clearly, this would be a huge blow to Google if Samsung decided to finally pull the trigger and go all-in with its own operating system. The Korean company — which is only truly rivaled by Apple in terms of overall hardware sales in the US — would likely enjoy having top-to-bottom control over its ecosystem. At least in the short term, there would be downsides for both Google and Samsung, however. Google would of course be losing it largest OEM, but Samsung would likely have many growing pains as it tries to convince developers that building apps for a third major platform is worth it.
Samsung has spent lots of resources building a large ecosystem around Tizen OS in recent years, though. Unlike Android Wear watches, the Tizen-powered Gear S2 will allow users to make payments on their smartwatch with Samsung Pay by the end of the year. Samsung is also working to add iOS support to its Tizen-powered lineup by the end of the year.