Samsung’s postponed Tizen Linux-based smartphone is now heading for a launch in India by the end of the year, reports India’s Economic Times.
Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of the Indian smartphone market. The latest company with plans to jump headlong into South Asia is Samsung, which aims to ship a Tizen Linux-based smartphone in India after the Diwali festival in November, according to the Economic Times (ET).
“We started late, but we are very focused,” ET quoted Tarun Malik, Samsung’s director of media solutions center, South West Asia, as saying. “We are not shooting in the wild.”
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It’s unclear if the phone is the Samsung Z — the company’s first announced Tizen phone — which was all set for a Russian launch this summer before being postponed indefinitely. The Samsung Z features a 2.3GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip, along with a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display and 8- and 2.1-megapixel cameras. The phone has 2GB of RAM, 8GB of flash, a wide array of wireless services, including LTE, and an even wider assortment of sensors.
Samsung is no stranger to India, having climbed to the top of the smartphone market there, as it has in the rest of the world, with its Android-based Galaxy phones. However, its lead in the overall Indian handset market has given way to Indian vendor Micromax, which sells a variety of Canvas-branded phones, according to the ET, citing a report from Counterpoint Technology. ET noted that IDC and CyberMedia Research differed, with the former saying that while Micromax has edged closer, Samsung holds onto its lead.
Indian smartphone scene expands
In any case, the Indian market is definitely heating up with a variety of Linux-based contenders. In late August, Mozilla announced the launch of two Firefox OS phones in India with remarkably low pricing. The Intex Cloud FX goes for $33, and the Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 costs $38. Last week, Jolla announced that its flagship Sailfish OS-based Jolla Phone would go on sale Sept. 23 in India.
More importantly for Samsung, last week, Google announced the launch of the first “Android One” phones in India starting at $103 from Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice. The phones are intended as a sort of Nexus for the developing world, and all follow a very similar mid-range feature set. They feature stock Android 4.4 with updates directly available from Google.
Samsung is missing from the list of other vendors who has said they would eventually ship Android One phones in various countries around the world. The list includes Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, Asus, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo.
In the past, Samsung executives have cited a lack of applications as a key reason for holding back on its launch of Tizen phones, which were originally expected to arrive as early as last fall. Malik told ET that content was a growing focus for Samsung worldwide, as well as in India.
Earlier this month, Samsung launched a digital education store in India called Club Samsung, and said it will make more content-related announcements in the coming weeks. Samsung’s newly formed Media Solutions team expects to serve some two million Indian users over the next year, Malik told ET.
Club Samsung will compete with similar services from telecom operators, such as Vodafone’s music store and Airtel’s Wynk, says ET. Malik told ET that vendors can do better than carriers at content because they offer greater control over what can be embedded in a device. Preloading content is more important in a country where few markets have the bandwidth or infrastructure to download or stream content, he suggested.
“This is a game that has to be led by the device manufacturer and not the pipe (telecom operators),” Malik told ET.