While talking about the upcoming Galaxy S5, Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung's product strategy team, confirmed in an interview that the company's first Tizen phone will arrive at the end of Q2 2014. He said Tizen devices will likely be used to reach markets that Android cannot address.
"We had tried to launch (Tizen) with DoCoMo and Orange ... but couldn't because of poor market conditions. We have changed our strategy and will release the phones in a few countries where we can do well," he said. Yoon added that in order to be successful, Tizen would have to account for up to 15 percent of Samsung's total smartphone shipments.
In an interview with Reuters, Yoon said that the first Tizen smartphone will be a high-end model. The second model will mainly focus on the middle of the market to "drive volume growth." Samsung already has one Tizen device out on the market: the second version of its Gear smartwatch, which went on sale last week.
Tizen is seen as Samsung's move to break away from Android. For now, its Android smartphone business will continue to pay the bills and fill their pockets with cash. However, Android sounds like a crutch that will likely be tossed aside once Tizen picks up enough speed to tackle both Android and Apple's iPhone line.
The interview points out that Samsung wants to create its own ecosystem with Tizen, and reduce its reliance on Android. But Samsung has faced problems along the way to the market, including several delays in product launches, which have weakened expectations. Samsung's global patent cross-licensing agreement with Google hasn't helped expectations either.
Unfortunately, Yoon didn't disclose any information about the Tizen launch such as in what countries the phone will be available, what carriers have signed on to carry Tizen phones, and the hardware details regarding the two phones. More of that, we expect, will be revealed towards the end of Q2 2014 if development stays on track.
Will Tizen be a success? That remains to be seen. Samsung is an Android powerhouse, and will obviously keep that momentum going until Tizen becomes a heavy hitter in the mobile sector. Not too long ago a company executive said that Tizen and its host smartphone wouldn't make a debut until it's perfect. First impressions are highly important.