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Samsung finally unveils world's first Tizen smartphone

Jun 2, 2014 — by Rick Lehrbaum 2,019 views

Samsung finally lifted the veil on the world’s first Tizen smartphone, the “Samsung Z,” packing a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 and shipping first in Russia.

In its announcement of the Tizen Z, Samsung described it as being “built on top of unparalleled quality and the cutting-edge technology of Samsung’s latest premium smartphone.” Despite the rhetoric, the Z’s specs aren’t particularly spectacular — yet it still earns high marks for chutzpah, being the first mobile handset to venture down the untrodden Tizen smartphone path.

Samsung Z: the world’s first Tizen smartphone

Key bragging points listed by Samsung in its announcement of the Tizen Z include…

  • A 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display and 2.3GHz quad-core processor.
  • Fast, optimal performance with improved memory management
  • Faster startup time and immediate multi-tasking capabilities
  • Superb 2D and 3D graphic qualities, smoother scrolling
  • Improved rendering performance for web browsing
  • Safe and secure privacy protection using the built-in fingerprint sensor
  • “Ultra Power Saving Mode” that “lets the phone stay operational even at minimal battery levels”
  • Distinctive home and application layout for easy access to favorite features and apps

Nothing too exciting in that list, although the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor is a welcome addition, and a 2.3GHz quad-core processor should offer snappy performance — especially since it turns out to be Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800. (See “Snapdragon 800 Basics” farther below, for details on the SoC.)


Summary of Tizen Z specifications

Piecing together specs listed by Samsung, plus a few provided from third-party sources, we end up with these:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC:
    • 4x 2.3GHz Krait 400 CPU cores
    • Adreno 330 GPU
    • 600MHz Hexagon v5 QDSP6
  • RAM — 2GB
  • Storage:
    • Internal flash — 16GB
    • Expansion — microSD slot (supports up to 64GB)
  • Display — 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED; 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Multimedia:
    • Video:
      • Codecs — H.263, H.264(AVC), MPEG4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark, MP43, WMV7, WMV8
      • Formats — MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV
    • Audio:
      • Codecs — MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/ AAC+/ eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC
  • Cameras — 8 megapixel (rear); 2.1 megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity:
    • Network — LTE Cat.4 (150/50Mbps)
    • WiFi — 802.11 a/b/g/n HT40, MIMO (2×2)
    • GPS, Glonass
    • Bluetooth 4.0, BLE
    • USB 2.0
    • NFC
    • IR remote
  • Sensors — accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, Hall, RGB ambient light, fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor
  • Dimensions — 138.2 x 69.8 x 8.5mm (approx. 5.4 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
  • Weight — 136g (4.8 oz)
  • Battery — 2600mAh
  • Operating system — Tizen 2.2.1


Snapdragon 800 basics

Designed to compete head-on with similarly 28nm, powerhouse SoCs like Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 4 and Samsung’s eight-core Samsung Exynos 5 Octa Cortex-A7 and –A15 Big.Little combo SoC, the Snapdragon 800 is Qualcomm’s first High-K Metal gate silicon. Its Krait 400 core is similar to the Cortex-A15 designs found in the Tegra 4 and Exynos 5 Octa, delivering a faster L2 cache and clock (400MHz) compared to the quad-core 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600, which drives the North American version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Snapdragon 800 is claimed to be 75 percent faster than the older, widely adopted Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.

Snapdragon 800 functional blocks
(click image to enlarge)

The Snapdragon 800 is further supercharged with an Adreno 330 graphics processing unit (GPU) claimed to offer 50 percent better graphics performance than the earlier Adreno 320. It maintains the Adreno 320’s FlexRender technology for dynamic switching between direct rendering and binning rendering, a technique said to improve performance and power efficiency. The Adreno 330 supports OpenGL ES 3.0, DirectX, OpenCL, and Renderscript Compute APIs in addition to FlexRender. The Snapdragon 800 also incorporates a 600MHz Hexagon v5 QDSP6 DSP (digital signal processor).

Samsung Z Tizen UI demo

The YouTube video below, made by CNET, demonstrates the Samsung Z’s Tizen user interface.

Samsung Z demo


The Samsung is showcasing the Samsung Z at this week’s Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco. It will become available during Q3 in Russia, with “other markets” following, says Samsung. The device will be offered in two colors — black and gold — and users will have the ability to install additional applications on their devices through the Tizen Store. Suggested retail pricing was not stated.

Samsung says the Tizen Store will “provide a special promotional program to all developers for one year,” in order to entice developers to create or port apps to the Samsung Z. Additionally, the company plans to host Tizen “local app challenges” in Russia and CIS countries in order to “enrich the Tizen ecosystem at the launch of the device.”

Yes, Tizen’s time has come. But will it grow to become a serious competitor to Android, or will it fade away into obscurity like several all-but-forgotten mobile Linux stacks before it that are now only whispered of in the dark alleys of the LinuxDevices Archive?

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7 responses to “Samsung finally unveils world's first Tizen smartphone”

  1. jezra says:

    “Yes, Tizen’s time has come. But will it grow to become a serious competitor to Android, or will it fade away into obscurity like several all-but-forgotten mobile Linux stacks before it that are now only whispered of in the dark alleys of the LinuxDevices Archive?”

    I’m voting for “dark alleys of the LinuxDevices Archive”

  2. salparadise says:

    It’s got a faster processor than my desktop PC!
    This is getting silly.

  3. Tangential says:

    It will be interesting to see how Tizen impacts the “patent wars”. If Samsung chooses to move most/all of their phones to Tizen that will put a serious crimp in Google’s data mining of the Android base. If that happens will we now see Google jump in and start suing partner Samsung? Would Apple also sue over Tizen? I can imagine lots of lawyers smiling (evilly) at the thought.

    • Spook says:

      What? No NSA inside? let Google, Apple and others sue Samsung to death! Meanwhile, i’m already lining to be first to buy this device, cause i’m tired of Google spying on me.

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