NTT DoCoMo, which was expected to become the first mobile carrier to provide a Tizen smartphone, put off the release of the handset. The postponement is drawing the attention of many, in that NTT DoCoMo is one of the most avid members of the Tizen alliance.
On January 16, Sankei Business quoted a high-ranking official at the telecoms operator as saying, “The release date is up in the air for now, and the project itself may be canceled.”
The Tizen alliance is planning to hold an international event in Barcelona, Spain on February 23 (local time), one day ahead of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). It is expected that the finalized Tizen operating system and smartphones running it will be unveiled at the event.
The announcement of the postponement has led to a variety of interpretations by industry insiders. Many of them are mentioning that the alliance is lacking inventory, as the marketing period overlaps with that of Apple’s iPhone.
Until recently, NTT DoCoMo was the most proactive member of the alliance. It used to say that it would release Tizen handsets by late last year at the latest. However, Samsung Electronics put off the release of a Tizen phone when NTT DoCoMo kicked off the sale of the iPhone. The latter needs to deal with an inventory burden if it is to widen its gap with Softbank, the second-largest mobile carrier in Japan.
In the meantime, some experts are guessing that the decision is for the official debut of Tizen phones by the alliance, which is scheduled for January. “It seems that NTT DoCoMo changed the schedule to be supplied with the handsets after the official release by the alliance on February 23,” one of them explained.