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Up until now, the most we’ve heard about Tizen has been how Samsung insists on using it in its line of smartwatch devices. But today, the company lifted the veil on a new handset that’ll be on display at the Tizen Developer conference starting tomorrow: the Samsung Z, a Tizen-based smartphone that represents the company’s commitment to its homegrown mobile OS.

samsung-z-2Under the hood, the Samsung Z has just about the same kinds of specs you’d expect from the company’s other Android-powered phones: it’s got 2 GB of RAM, a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2.1 megapixel front camera, and 16 GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 64 GB via microSD. The Z also has a 4.80inch 720p HD display, which is just a bit smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch 1080p screen. Speaking of the Galaxy S5, that handset from April has pretty comparable internal specs compared with the Z, with a slightly faster CPU, a better camera, and a bit more internal storage. Overall the S5 is demonstrably better, but not by a ton.

In fact, one of the benefits of the Tizen-powered phone, according to Samsung’s press release, is the quickness with which it boots up and can provide multitasking, not to mention more overall battery efficiency. That was the rationale behind updating the original Galaxy Gear to swap Android for Tizen last week.

Despite those great claims, there are some definite drawbacks with using a Tizen-powered device. Android boasts a huge app economy. Tizen? Not so much. Samsung is working on remedying that, but just as developers don’t want to make apps for Windows Phone or Windows 8 due to the low user base, so too will app developers likely shy away from making apps for Tizen.

If you’re okay with a phone that can’t run all the same apps that you enjoy on your Android or iOS phone, then the Samsung Z might be the handset for you. As of now, the phone is set to come out in Russia in the third quarter, “and is planned to expand to other markets.” Will that mean that we’ll ever see the Samsung Z in the United States? Possibly. It’d be super interesting to see what carriers, if any, decide to pick the thing up.

I’m also keen to see what else Samsung decides to do with this OS. Who knows? If it can gain enough traction, the company’s decision to make all of its smartwatches reliant on the operating system may prove to be much wiser than we’d all initially thought.

[Samsung Mobile]

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