Can Tizen take on Android? Samsung and 15 new partners think so


Just when everyone thought Tizen was dead yet again, 15 companies declared their interest and support for Tizen. Big names like Sprint, ZTE and Baidu are now backing Tizen.

At the start of February, reports indicated that Tizen was rapidly losing support. Current and prospective partners of the open source operating system questioned the necessity of introducing yet another OS to the market. Tech pundits every where raced to declare Tizen dead on arrival. 

Obviously Samsung applied a sufficient amount of pressure to ensure that not only can Tizen survive, but it can gather new followers rapidly. Three of the most important partners for Tizen are big-name companies based in Asia. Chinese search engine company Baidu, smartphone maker ZTE and carrier Softbank from Japan all added their names to the list of Tizen supporters.

If Samsung wants Tizen to succeed, it will need a lot of support in the emerging markets in Asia. Once Tizen establishes credibility, it will have an easier time convincing carriers and handset makers in developed markets like the United States that Tizen is a good idea. Tizen will have to start small and grow if it wants to take a crack at defeating Android or at least Windows Phone.

Another notable addition to the Tizen project is Sprint. Sprint initially joined the fray in 2012 and pulled out again in 2013, but now it has rejoined the list of Tizen partners. Sprint will be an important asset for Tizen, because it will offer a small foothold into the highly-competitive U.S. mobile market.

Samsung will reportedly launch its first Tizen smartphone at MWC 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Details about the handset are still extremely fuzzy and nobody really knows what to expect. ZTE is also reportedly considering making a Tizen-based smartphone, but no concrete plans have been confirmed. So long as these partners stick with Tizen for the long haul, the new OS will get decent exposure in Asia and the United States.

It is impossible to judge whether or not Tizen will be successful without having seen any devices running the new OS. For Tizen's sake, Samsung better release an incredible smartphone and make the most of the open source OS. If Samsung throws its weight behind Tizen, there's really no stopping the new OS from doing well. It's really just a question of whether customers are willing to learn a new interface just so Samsung can declare its independence from Android.

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