Samsung may launch first Tizen phone in India

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co., which faces a slowdown in emerging market smartphone sales, will release its long-delayed Tizen-powered handset in India before the end of this year, a report said Monday.

Samsung's first Tizen-based device will be launched in November in India, said Tarun Malik, director of Samsung's Media Solutions Center in Southwest Asia, in an interview with Economic Times.

The Tizen mobile platform is Samsung's effort to build its own mobile ecosystem akin to Google's Android and Apple's iOS. Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone supplier claiming nearly one third of the global sales, most of its smartphones are powered by Google's Android system.

That reliance means Samsung phone users tied to Google's services can easily switch to other Android devices from Samsung's Galaxy lineup.

The Tizen device to be released in India "will coexist with the Android devices," Malik said in the report. Samsung's headquarters in Seoul said it had no comment.

Samsung faces rising threats from local brands in China and India, which have hurt its sales of cheap handsets. The maker of Galaxy smartphones and tablets was beaten by Xiaomi in smartphone sales in China during the second quarter according to Canalys, a market research firm.

In India, Samsung was overtaken by Micromax in mobile handset sales during the second quarter, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a Hong Kong-based market research firm.

Samsung earlier this year shelved plans to start selling its Tizen-based Samsung Z phone in Russia during the third quarter. It said it needed to enhance the Tizen "ecosystem" which apparently lacked sufficient developers and apps.

It was not clear if the upcoming Tizen smartphone in India would be the Samsung Z. Announced in June at a developer conference in San Francisco, the Samsung Z featured a 4.8-inch high-definition display, a fingerprint sensor for security and a slim, angular design.

Though smartphones based on Tizen are yet to be seen in the market, Samsung has introduced Tizen in a camera and smartwatches. The company seeks to expand the platform to other consumer durable goods, including TVs and refrigerators.