Gadgets for humans

Samsung launches its first ever Tizen smartphone in India

Samsung Z1

After several delays since 2013, Samsung has finally unveiled the Z1, its first Tizen OS-powered smartphone, in India today. The device will go on sale for roughly $90 (Rs. 5,700).

Samsung says that Tizen makes for quick boot times and smooth performance on the 3G dual-SIM Z1, which is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 768 MB RAM, and 4GB internal memory (expandable up to 64GB with a microSD card).

Samsung Z1 range

The device sports a 4-inch 800×480 pixel display, a 3.1-megapixel rear camera, VGA front-facing camera and a 1,500mAh battery. It comes in three colors: white, black and Wine Red.

The Z1 will also unlock free acess to premium content, including over 270,000 songs and 80 live TV channels to stream and download via the company’s Club Samsung service.

Samsung is betting big on local content with the Z1. It is partnering with in India to offer access to two million Bollywood and English tracks, and more than 7,000 Bollywood and Hollywood movies from nexGTv and Box TV. These services will be available for free for three months, after which they will cost about $28 (Rs. 1,750) a year.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Z1 fares in India, especially since Android device manufacturers have flooded the market with capable low-cost devices at similar price points.

Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S, for example, runs on Android (which features a much larger app ecosystem), packs better specs (including a 1.6 GHz processor and a 720p 4.7″ screen) and costs only $5 (Rs. 300) more. There are also a range of Android One devices available in the country that are similarly priced.

Until today’s launch, Tizen only featured on Samsung’s watches and smart TVs, and it seemed like the OS wouldn’t make it to prime time on mobile devices. However, without a solid app ecosystem or differentiating features to back it up, the OS will likely have a hard time gaining ground over the next few years.

So what is Tizen good for? For one thing, it will allow Samsung to develop a range of products — including mobile devices, wearables and home applicances — that play well together, and control the experience and content that it makes available to consumers.

This will allow the company to make money off the hardware, software, content and native advertising on its platform. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Z1 leads to bigger things for Samsung, or spells the demise of Tizen on mobile devices.

➤ Samsung Unveils the Samsung Z1, the First Tizen Powered Smartphone for Indian Consumers [Samsung Tomorrow]

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Published January 14, 2015 — 07:50 UTC