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About a month ago, Samsung announced the Samsung Z, its first smartphone running Tizen, the Linux-based mobile OS that it had a hand in developing. Set to debut in Russia in Q3 2014, new reports say that Samsung has pushed the phone’s release back. Considering that Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone have their adherents already, does Tizen even stand a chance at this point?

According to WSJ’s tech blog, Digits, the Z was supposed to have its official launch yesterday at Moscow’s Tizen Developers conference. But only days before the release, Samsung put the brakes on, delaying the Z until…well, no one actually knows as of right now. The post also points out that Samsung pulled a similar move when a different smartphone running Tizen was supposed to come out in Japan in early 2014. In short, there’s no Tizen smartphone now, and no one really knows when there will be.

So what’s the big deal for consumers? There really isn’t one: there’s no shortage of choice for mobile operating systems. Windows Phone and iPhones have their adherents, while there are enough different flavors of Android out there (with Samsung being one of the world’s biggest Android smartphone makers).

The delay doesn’t affect customers nearly as much as it affects developers hoping to make a splash on a new OS with the backing of one of the biggest mobile OEMs out there. Tizen also happens to be the operating system behind every smartwatch it has released with the exception of the Gear Live, which runs Android Wear. Savvy developers hoping to make a splash might devote resources to being among the first to make apps for Tizen. That’s a viable option considering the aforementioned line of Tizen-running smartwatches.

But with Samsung’s latest delay of the Z, one has to wonder whether or not Tizen is viable at all. As pointed out by a post on CNET, Samsung’s hope for Tizen is to earn money spent on apps. As it stands, anytime someone buys an Android app through the Google Play Store, that cash goes to Google. It makes sense that Samsung would want to enjoy hardware and software sales.

But right now, there’s little to no compelling argument to convince consumers to make the switch to Tizen, no matter what territory you’re in. Mobile operating systems need healthy app ecosystems, and if Tizen keeps getting delayed, developers won’t bother with it, since they won’t see any activity. The fact that Samsung released the Android Wear-based Gear Live shows that even they can’t deny the power of Google’s OS.

My question: how long will it be until Samsung gives up the ghost with Tizen and commits fully to Android once and for all?

[Sources: WSJ, CNET]


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