Just as Samsung is planning a break from Android, its reliance on Google’s mobile OS is also getting deeper.
Samsung says it aims to release its first smartphone running Tizen, its Android-alternative homegrown OS, by the end of the second quarter, Reuters reports. Samsung notably implemented Tizen in its latest Gear smartwatches, after launching its first smartwatch with Android (to terrible reception).
But despite an increasing focus on Tizen, Samsung still plans to release its Android Wear smartwatch by the end of the year. Whereas Samsung had to tweak Android heavily to fit it onto the first Gear smartwatch, Android Wear is a stripped down version of the platform built specifically for wearables.
Now that Motorola and LG have already announced their Android Wear devices, Samsung can’t afford to avoid the platform entirely. But Samsung’s dual support of Tizen and Android Wear also speaks to its unique position in the mobile world — it’s both the most successful Android company and a potential threat to Google if it ends up relying more on Tizen.
Samsung says its Tizen and Windows Phone devices will target markets that Android doesn’t currently serve. That reasoning is hard to swallow, though, since Android has proven popular at both the extreme low-end and the upper echelon of smartphones.
Yoon Han-kil, Samsung’s senior vice president of product strategy, tells Reuters that he expects the Galaxy S5 to outsell last year’s S4. The S5 didn’t have as splashy a debut as the S4, but its combination of useful features like the waterproof case and the best camera I’ve seen yet on an Android phone could make it more appealing to consumers.