Getting its Tizen operating system onto a consumer smartphone has been a struggle for Samsung, with planned launches of the flagship Z falling apart in both Japan and Russia. But it’s finally happened - with a different phone.
Instead of trying to convince consumers to use an untested new operating system by spending big, Samsung will instead amass users via a low-end, low-priced phone in emerging markets. And to that end, the Samsung Z1 is now available in India.
The Z1 is a definite step down from the original, unreleased Z, and the specs are akin to a budget Android phone from a couple years back. It has a 4in WVGA (480x800) multitouch display and a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, flanked by 768MB RAM and 4GB internal storage (with microSD support up to 64GB).
There’s a 3.1MP camera on the back, as well as a VGA selfie shooter up front, and the 1500 mAh battery is supported by the Ultra Power Saving Mode option for when the juice runs low. Not the most inspiring specs, but with a price of just INR 5,700 (about £60), it ought to have appeal for consumers seeking a solidly functional first-time smartphone.
Whether or not the Z1 ultimately leaves India, as well as when Tizen will spread as a smartphone OS, is another story altogether. Considering the botched launch of the Z, we imagine many developers are waiting to see how OS adoption picks up before committing resources to bring top apps to Tizen.
It may be a while before Samsung has a compelling enough case to convince veteran smartphone users away from Android and other top options - but it’ll be worth it for Samsung to try and see it through if it means more profits in the end.