Observers say that Samsung Electronics will not unveil a Tizen-based smartphone at all, or it will only showcase a prototype of the Tizen phone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 from Feb. 24 to 27.
According to industry sources on Feb. 12, the Korean tech giant is not expected to reveal a finished Tizen phone at MWC 2014.
An industry source said, “The possibility that a Tizen-based smartphone will be showcased is very low,” adding, “Even if a Tizen phone is indeed unveiled, it is more likely to be a prototype just like last year.”
Previously, there was much anticipation for the Tizen operating system (OS), since the Tizen Association announced last January on the invitations, saying, “A new Tizen OS will be revealed at Hotel Arts Barcelona on Feb. 23.”
Some in the industry think that the Tizen Association will showcase both the upgraded version of Tizen OS and Samsung’s Tizen phone at the event. In particular, the Association said that they will set up a booth and an exhibit room for the Tizen ecosystem at MWC 2014 for the first time.
However, they avoid mentioning whether or not their much anticipated Tizen phone will be released. A week before the invitations were sent, NTT DoCoMo, the largest mobile carrier in Japan, said that it will postpone the release date for its Tizen phone for the time being, and withdrew from the alliance. Prior to the mobile carrier’s withdrawal, French carrier Orange also delayed its plan to launch its Tizen phone and left the organization. As a result, SK Telecom, KT, LG U+, and Vodafone are the four remaining members of the Tizen Association.
An official at one of the local Tizen developer companies commented, “We cannot help postponing the release date of our Tizen phone, owing to a lack of mobile carriers willing to sell the phone.”
The claim that it is unclear whether or not the Tizen phone will be showcased seems to be reasonable, based on the report that Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S5 at MWC 2014. The credibility is due to the possibility that if Samsung reveals its next-gen smartphone and its Tizen phone at the same time, it will more likely to divert people’s attention. In particular, the fact that Samsung recently signed a 10-year broad cross-licensing deal with Google is considered to be one factor that delays the launch of Samsung’s Tizen phone.
An industry source pointed out, “Samsung is put in a position where it is difficult to push ahead with the launch of Tizen OS, given the recent deal with Google. And the Korean company is presumably less motived to wean itself off of Google through the development of a third operating system.” The source added, “So, Samsung might conduct a mere formal showcasing of its Tizen phone in the event.”