Dark Clouds on Android’s Horizon? Samsung to Release Tizen OS in 2013

by Matt Klassen on January 2, 2013

Is it simply too late and too foolish to continue saying the inevitable demise of Android is nigh? Well, nothing like starting off the New Year with yet another wild prediction I suppose.

Several years ago now I first predicted that Google’s Android strategy would ultimately fail, for the simple fact that Android partners utilize the OS because it’s free and customizable. The eminent affordability of Android has always been sharply juxtaposed, however, to the fact that in the mobile market the real money comes from owning the operating platform, evidenced no more so than Apple and its successful iOS.

I continued my wild claims by stating that Google’s Android strategy depends on its Android partners not achieving any significant market success either, for if they did they would be less inclined to continue suckling from Google’s open source teat.

But with the proliferation of Android advancing unabated through the tech market, is there any evidence to say that there’s still ominous clouds on Android’s horizon? Consider this, the only Android partner to not be owned by Google or on the brink of financial disaster is Samsung, and the South Korean tech giant just announced it will start producing phones running its own Linux-based Tizen OS sometime in 2013.

While not making many headlines yet, Tizen is a Linux-based mobile operating system that emerged from the wreckage of Nokia’s infamous MeeGo project. Once Nokia scrapped its bid to create its own OS, its partner Intel and Samsung took over the project in mid 2011, quietly developing what is touted as a true open source platform, much more so than its so-to-be rival Android.

As I’ve said before, much like Apple, having its own mobile OS would allow Samsung to have proprietary control over the entire device, freeing it from dependence on Google for software upgrades and the like. In addition, having its own mobile OS would further distinguish it from the sea of middling Android partners all running the same fragmented platform.

Now don’t get me wrong, given the global popularity of Android its not like Samsung could just abandon Google’s OS in one fell swoop; the Korean company likely opting for a graduated phase out of Android devices, where the company’s popular Galaxy franchise would one day quietly be shifted over to Samsung’s Tizen software.

Of course this bold prediction rests solely on the premise that Samsung’s new Tizen project will be a consumer success, and that’s certainly no sure thing. In fact, the move away from Android is not without risk, as looking at the current mobile landscape one sees more flops than successes in this regard. Notably, companies like Apple, Nokia, RIM, and Palm have all struck out with their own platform in the last several years, with only Apple achieving anything other than an unmitigated disaster.

In the short term I do believe Samsung’s open source Tizen project is simply a way for the company to hedge its bets against Google’s Android ecosystem and other emerging competitors like Microsoft. But don’t get me wrong, if Tizen sees any sort of market success there’s no question that this will mark the day that things started to go wrong for Google and its Android OS.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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