What do Samsung’s executives think smartphone and tablet customers really want? Whatever Apple is doing, Samsung wants to do something similar. Here’s Samsung’s new plan to defeat Apple’s iPhone.
Much Ado Over Tizen
Let’s take a quick look at the smartphone and tablet players, starting with Apple and iOS. Then, there’s Google’s Android.
The two make up about 90-percent of the still growing smartphone and tablet market worldwide, but there are others vying for attention and the slice of that ever increasing pie.
The list of also-rans includes BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and a growing and fragmented list of iOS and Android wannabes. There’s Mozilla’s new Firefox OS, too, and a dozen others.
For now, Samsung depends on Google’s Android to grow both smartphone and tablet marketshare, but the company’s co-CEO says the future is Tizen.
Say what, Kate?
Yes. Samsung wants Tizen to run on all their future smartphones and tablets and anything else that competes with anything Apple does.
Tizen /ˈtaɪzɛn/ is an operating system for devices including smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices, and smart TVs. It is an open source system that aims to offer a consistent user experience across devices. Tizen’s main components are the Linux kernel and the WebKit runtime. The Tizen project resides within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a Technical Steering Group (TSG) composed of Intel and Samsung.
That sounds much like Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and Google’s Chrome OS, neither of which have exactly set the world of smartphones and tablets on fire.
Personally, I think Samsung is taking yet another page from Apple’s storyline, this time a mutated version of what is known as The Cook Doctrine, enacted by then acting-CEO Tim Cook over four years ago.
We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.
We’re constantly focusing on innovating.
We believe in the simple, not the complex.
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
In other words, Apple prefers to control their own destiny, hence the seamless integration of hardware, software, and ecosystem.
Samsung wants the same thing, of course (because Samsung does later what Apple does earlier), and Google stands in the way as the arbiter and purveyor of Android OS, which is what makes Samsung’s smartphones and tablets run.
Samsung doesn’t want to get into the same sorry state of affairs of Windows PC manufacturers who cannot differentiate their products from one another because they all run Windows.
The Get Real Questions
The real question is more basic. Can Samsung drive development of Tizen so that it eventually competes well against Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Firefox OS, and others in the marketplace?
After all, development of iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry are proceeding at a breakneck pace, and Tizen is behind by years in development and applications.
If Tizen is Samsung’s great white hope for the future, it has a very long row to hoe, and the competition, already far more robust, isn’t exactly standing still.
For what it’s worth, app developers go where the money is, and by that standard iOS is winning, Android is playing, Microsoft is hurting, BlackBerry is The Walking Dead, and everyone else, including Tizen, is a solution looking for a problem to solve.