Samsung plans to launch smartphones running the Tizen open source operating system by the end of the second quarter.
Yoon Han-kil, a senior executive from the South Korean company, told Reuters that the first Tizen-based smartphone to be launched in this timeframe will be a high-end device, with the second aimed at the mid-market, where it can drive volume growth. Launch dates for the second device were less clear.
Until now, Tizen has only been used on three commercially-available devices: Samsung’s Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smart watches (launched at Mobile World Congress in February), along with a digital camera from the electronics giant.
Samsung is one of the major backers of Tizen, which has been touted as a potential competitor to Android and which could allow Samsung to become less reliant on the Google technology in its smartphone business.
Despite the lack of device launches, the OS picked up a number of new backers in February, with the Tizen Association naming 15 new supporters, including Sprint, its parent SoftBank Mobile, and ZTE.
Samsung has adjusted its strategy so that Tizen-based smartphones will be released in “a few countries where we can do well”, the executive said, adding that Tizen will need to account for up to 15 per cent of Samsung’s smartphone shipments to be considered a success.
Fans of Samsung’s android devices shouldn’t worry too much as the company plans to continue its collaboration with the OS alongside its Tizen experiment.
Yoon told Reuters that Android still needs to be Samsung’s “main business” while Tizen and Windows Phone will address markets that Android is less suited to.
In other Samsung news, the manufacturer plans to make its Gear 2 wearable devices compatible with all Android-based smartphones.
However, Yoon also stated that Samsung plans to launch an Android-based smart watch at some point in 2014.