Sunday, February 8, 2015

Will Samsung always need Google?

Over the years, we’ve seen mobile operating systems come and go: Windows Mobile changing to Windows Phone, webOS once having one of the highest potentials in the mobile industry to ceasing to exist altogether, Ubuntu for Phones once being a real possibility (with matching hardware), and Firefox - a well-known and popular web browser - having come up with a mobile operating system of their own. Despite all of the trials and tribulations that smartphone platforms have to endure in order to survive, one has managed to rise above and beyond the rest over the years, and that’s Android.
Over the years, we’ve seen mobile operating systems come and go: Windows Mobile changing to Windows Phone...

Which, to clarify, isn’t saying it’s the best of the best without a doubt - but when it comes to building from the bottom up, it would seem like Android has had the most success, with the help of so many manufacturers contributing to the platform. One of the most successful, of course, has been Samsung.

Samsung has been arguably the most popular Android manufacturer over the past few years, which would make sense given that the South Korean company has several different lines of Android devices. You have the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Samsung Galaxy Zoom, Samsung Galaxy Mega... the list goes on (and on, and on...) The bottom line here is that Samsung and Google make a pretty good team when you look at the numbers.

But it’s been pretty clear since a few years ago that Samsung has had other plans when it comes to their company in the mobile industry. The development of their own mobile operating system, Tizen, leads us to believe that one day Samsung hoped to branch out from Google’s Android and perhaps build an empire all on their own.

We’ve known about Tizen for several years, with the platform having originally been scheduled to release sometime in 2012. Well, that didn’t happen. However, better late than never, as they say, and Samsung recently released their first Tizen phone just recently. The only problem is, even thought it’s here 4 years late, it’s apparently still nothing to write home about according to Ars Technica’s recent review of the first Tizen device, the Samsung Z1.

Is this first Tizen device what we can expect out of Samsung’s platform in the future, or is this the beginning of something much bigger?

It’ll be interesting to see where Samsung goes with Tizen now that the platform is a real thing. It would be easy to say that Samsung will never get anywhere far with Tizen, which would be true if you’re operating under the assumption that Tizen will never get any better from this point forward. However, as we’ve seen with other mobile platforms (especially Android), we can see that just because a platform doesn’t start out being totally amazing, it doesn’t mean that it can’t become something great in the future.

I’m confident that Samsung has the ability to make Tizen great in the future, and I think that’s probably what’s going to inevitably happen. I don’t think Samsung would bother creating an operating system that they don’t think would be huge in the future. Obviously that’s just speculation at this point, given that many tech enthusiasts have predicated that Tizen was more of a fall back plan if Google and Samsung’s relationship somehow fell through - you know, a “Plan B” of sorts. Even I thought that at one point; however, at this point I think that Samsung’s current plan with Tizen is to eventually branch off into its own thing. They just need to keep Android as its main source of income until that can happen.