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Are Wireless Carriers to Blame for Tizen Delay?

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 7 comments

Several wireless carriers have backed off from a Tizen launch.

The last we heard about Samsung's upcoming mobile operating system Tizen, the company was planning to reveal devices just one day before Mobile World Congress 2014. Prior to that, sources indicated that the first Tizen phone was slated for 3Q 2013, but Samsung co-CEO JK Shin pushed back its release so that the company can get both the hardware and software perfect.

Unnamed sources now report that NTT DoCoMo, Japan's biggest telecommunications operator, was set to reveal a Tizen phone on its network in mid-January. Even the company's president, Kaoru Kato, rehearsed his presentation over the last month. But on the day the phone was supposed to go live, DoCoMo pulled the plug and shelved its plans.

So what happened? Two weeks later Kato told investors during DoCoMo's quarterly earnings call that Tizen will continue to be an extremely important platform, but for now the company plans to watch global market trends to decide on a launch.

DoCoMo isn't the only company that's sitting on the sidelines. Here in the States, Sprint joined the Tizen Association back in 2012, but exited in 2013 to focus its resources on "more immediate product launches," according to sources. Spain's Telefónica also exited the association as did France's Orange SA.

Orange actually planned to launch a phone alongside DoCoMo in January, but a spokesperson for Orange said that Tizen "is not as mature as we may have expected at this point." Currently, there are no plans to include a Tizen phones in its roadmap.

In addition to troubles with carriers, Samsung may be having difficulty attracting large developers as well. To attract them to the upcoming platform, the company held a developers conference in San Francisco back in October 2013, and then another one in Seoul a month later. Samsung and Intel are also sponsoring a contest for Tizen developers, offering $4 million in prizes.

But even with a cash reserve of $50 billion to help Tizen developers, sources claim that most of the app developers that cash in on Android and iOS just aren't interested in the platform, even with cash incentives. For example, the developer of one very famous app, which has made more than $100,000 USD, turned down an offer by Samsung to port the app to Tizen.

Tizen Association Chairman Roy Sugimura said in an interview that software developers just care about the number of mobile phones on the market. "Such an attitude makes it very difficult for Tizen to get approval because right now there are no users," he said.

The Tizen platform had around 6,000 apps as of December.

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  • 0 Hide
    nekromobo , February 5, 2014 10:06 PM
    Now days mobile operating systems are like nuke's, a threat to established OS's that companies like Samsung and Nokia use to leverage and pressure to other companies. It's like Nokia Android, they probably have 2 man-team on the project and photoshop artist for @evleaks. Tizen is probably in the same league. I choose not to believe.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , February 6, 2014 2:39 AM
    No... Android is to blame!
  • 0 Hide
    schultzter , February 6, 2014 5:05 AM
    If Samsung can't attract developers even after flashing around $50,000,000,0000 I wonder what Firefox OS and Ubuntu One are going to do?
  • -1 Hide
    tvieson , February 6, 2014 7:15 AM
    The problem is continued growth and development of an app. As a developer, do you really want to make the same app over and over. With the only difference being OS you code for? Of course you don't, its boring, and it slows down advancement.Then besides cross development, there is time to consider. As the saying goes, time is money. Besides Android and iOS being the 2 most popular OSes, there are also easier to code for. BlackBerry has been around for ever and at one time was the most popular phone to have, but nobody really codes for them. Probably because it takes to much time and its to complicated. Windows Phone has been slow to adopt apps I'm sure for the very same reason. That and the fact that they have such a confused vision of the software.Tizen is a new OS that is vastly unknown. Until this article I'd never heard of it. Do you as a developer use time, resources, and money to develop for an OS that may not make it out the door. Its just a logical business decision.
  • 0 Hide
    zanny , February 6, 2014 3:25 PM
    Quote:
    If Samsung can't attract developers even after flashing around $50,000,000,0000 I wonder what Firefox OS and Ubuntu One are going to do?
    It isn't about finagling developers into writing apps for Tizen, it is a more broad movement to get developers writing apps in QML or html5. If you are already writing in either of those languages, and not Objective C / Java, then you are very likely to port your apps to Tizen / Ubuntu / Firefox if html5 / desktop / cars / etc because the overhead is minimal if you isolate your platform specific code (if you have any at all).
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 6, 2014 3:57 PM
    I am mostly ignorant to this proposed OS, but I'm torn. While more options fosters competition and (hopefully) better options for consumers, I think the last thing consumers want at the moment is yet another mobile operating system yielding more fragmentation.I find the windows mobile platform to be fairly appealing, but I can't bring myself to jump ship from android because it lacks so many of the features that are integrated into my daily usage (I guess google is to blame for that).
  • 0 Hide
    zanny , February 6, 2014 4:33 PM
    Quote:
    I am mostly ignorant to this proposed OS, but I'm torn. While more options fosters competition and (hopefully) better options for consumers, I think the last thing consumers want at the moment is yet another mobile operating system yielding more fragmentation.I find the windows mobile platform to be fairly appealing, but I can't bring myself to jump ship from android because it lacks so many of the features that are integrated into my daily usage (I guess google is to blame for that).


    Tizen exists because Google controls Android with an iron fist. Even though the base OS is open source, they don't allow any outside contributions so they steer the project the way they want exclusively. The consequence is that players like Samsung want to tweak the experience, but if they just fork Android they just contribute right back to Googles market dominance and ability to shove them around with control of the Play Store.