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Samsung debuts its first Tizen phone — the Z1– in India

Jan 14, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum 1,279 views

After much expectation and many false starts, Samsung finally launched the Tizen-based “Samsung Z1” smartphone into India’s vast and rapidly growing market.

Following frequent delays during 2014, and amid growing speculation that the Korean smartphone juggernaut may have been contemplating abandoning Tizen in the face of the growing penetration of emerging markets by low-end Android phones, new rumors surfaced that Samsung would finally be unleashing its first Tizen phone in India, early in 2015.

Samsung Z

A Samsung Z phone was all set for a Russian launch last summer, when the company abruptly postponed it indefinitely. That device sported a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display along with 8- and 2.1-megapixel rear- and front-facing cameras, and ran its Tizen software stack on a beefy 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, backed by 2GB of RAM and 8GB of flash. It was also equipped with a wide array of wireless services, including LTE, plus an assortment of sensors.

Samsung finally launches its Tizen-based “Samsung Z1” in India
(click image to enlarge)

The launch of Samsung’s first Tizen phone in India finally came to pass this week, and we now know it’s a new device called the “Samsung Z1” — not the Samsung Z that never made to market in Russia.


Introducing the Samsung Z1

The Samsung Z1 is a lower-end model than the un-launched Z. It’s equipped with a 4-inch WVGA PLS touchscreen, in contrast to the Z’s 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, and its processor is an unspecified dual-core 1.2GHz SoC, as opposed to the Z’s 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800.

Samsung Z1 photo and specs
(click images to enlarge)

The Z1’s other specs are reduced as well, including its 768MB RAM and 4GB of flash, in contrast to the Z’s 2GB RAM and 8GB flash. The Z1’s cameras, too, are lower-end, at 3.1-megapixel rear and VGA front, vs. the Z’s 8- and 2.1-megapixel parts. Other Z1 features include microSD card usable with up to 64GB of removable storage, dual SIM support, and a 1500mAh battery.

Clearly, the Z1 is aimed at entry-level smartphone users in a market where budgets for luxuries are nearly nonexistent, but potential volumes are virtually unbounded.

Samsung lists the following specifications for its Tizen-based Samsung Z1 smartphone:

  • Processor — dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Memory:
    • RAM — 728MB
    • flash — 4GB
  • Storage expansion — microSD slot for up to 64GB
  • Display — 4-inch WVGA PLS
  • Cameras:
    • Rear — 3.1MP
    • Front — VGA
    • Features — automatic face-detect, “dream shot”
  • Multimedia compatibility:
    • Video — MP4, M4V, 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV
    • Audio — MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, AMR, AWB, FLAC
  • Wireless:
    • Cellular — GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA 900/2100 MHz
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n

    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • GPS
  • Other I/O — USB 2.0
  • Sensor — accelerometer
  • Additional features — Ultra Power Saving Mode, Private Mode, Send Help Message, Security
  • Dimensions — 120.4 x 63.2 x 9.7mm
  • Weight — 112g
  • Battery — 1500 mAh
  • Operating system — Tizen 2.3

The Samsung Z1 is available in India starting today, in White, black, and Wine Red, priced at approximately $93 (INR 5,700). The Samsung Z1 is supported by the 3G networks of the partnership of Reliance Communications and Aircel, whose plans provide 500MB of 3G data free per month over a six-month period.

Is Samsung turning away from Android?

This launch naturally raises questions about whether Samsung may be backing away from its Android embrace. Mingi Hyun, of Samsung’s Corporate Communications group, addressed that concern today in a blog post.

“In 2015, Samsung Electronics will be introducing a flood of devices running the Tizen (pronounced “tie-zen”) operating system,” writes Hyun. “Tizen has already featured in our wearables and cameras, and will feature prominently in most of our smart appliances and all of our Smart TVs throughout 2015. And, today, we introduced our first Tizen smartphone, the Samsung Z1. But, these devices are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Samsung’s Tizen “big picture”
(click image to enlarge)

“Tizen constitutes a large and important part of our Internet of Things (IoT) strategy that encompasses all device categories across the company. BK Yoon, the company’s CEO, announced last week at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that all Samsung devices will be IoT-ready in five years,” continues Hyun. “Many of these devices will be running Tizen. Considering that we sold around 665 million devices last year alone, that could translate into a lot of Tizen. But, why Tizen?”

“The benefits of Tizen are very simple: Tizen is ‘lighter’ than other operating systems. In other words, Tizen requires less processing power and memory, thereby ensuring faster device speeds while consuming less energy,” writes Hyun. “As a result, consumers will benefit from a smoother user experience through the likes of shorter boot time, faster web browsing and seamless multitasking, all the while enjoying longer battery life.”

Hyun goes on to explain that the Tizen’s lightweight nature enables it to be used on the sort of minimalistic devices that are going to be common in IoT applications, such as wearables, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines. He makes the case that Tizen is “lightweight enough to run the devices without burning through processing power, memory and overall device performance.”

Finally, Hyun asks — and answers — the question that’s on everyone’s mind, with today’s launch of the Tizen Z1 phone in India: “So, does this all mean we’re abandoning other operating systems? No.”

Hyun goes on to explain that Samsung’s “IoT initiatives are being undertaken with foremost emphasis on openness,” and that the company plans to remain open to other OSes. “In doing so, we can ensure seamless interoperability and connectivity among the billions of devices being used daily,”

“That said, we clearly see the benefits of Tizen, as well as the convenience and diversity it can bring to consumers,” writes Hyun. “We’re very excited to bring the Tizen experience to you, and we hope you’ll give it a try!”

(advertise here)

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One response to “Samsung debuts its first Tizen phone — the Z1– in India”

  1. jezra says:

    The “faster web browsing” bit made me chuckle. Hopefully they were referring to faster page rendering times and not some magical increase in data speeds.

    On a side note, it is nice that an actual working Tizen phone might finally end up in the hands of developers.

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