Tizen was supposed to be Samsung's way out of continued reliance on Google's Android OS for most of its devices - but carriers shrugged at supporting another OS, and initial phone launch attempts fell through.
And Android, of course, still powers Samsung flagships like the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5, although you'll find Tizen on the Gear S2 smartwatch. But here's a surprising thing: Samsung quietly released a Tizen-powered phone, the Z1, into India at the start of the year, and it did pretty well. In fact, it sold at least a million units, and topped the charts there in the first quarter.
Not a bad start, especially for a very cheap, small phone. But now Samsung is aiming higher - a little bit higher - with the Z3, another Tizen phone that leapfrogs over the missing Z2 moniker (shades of Windows 10?) to deliver a larger, sharper screen and better specs all around, to boot. It even looks more like Samsung's Android phones (as seen in an earlier leak), albeit with less flair.
The Samsung Z3 has a 5in Super AMOLED display running at 720p, with a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and 8GB of internal storage, along with microSD support up to 128GB. You'll find an 8-megapixel camera on the back, a 5MP shooter up front, and a 2,600 mAh battery pack within. Definitely low-to-mid-range specs all around, but the price is right: it'll sell for ₹8490.
That's a small bump in price over the Z1, but we'd say a much larger bump in specs and features for the extra investment. For the price, it sounds solidly impressive, although Tizen's lack of developer support compared to Android means much fewer apps and games to use on the device.
Still, at that price, we imagine India's Tizen adoption will continue growing in the months ahead. The Samsung Z3 will be available this month, and there's no word yet on any sort of wider release outside the country.