Samsung finally releases Tizen phone for sale in India

At long last, Samsung has released the first Tizen smartphone, Z1, for sale in India over six months after its initial launch. Until now, the device hasn’t been available as Samsung cancelled the previously intended first release in Russia during Q3 2014.

The Korean device maker claimed the Tizen platform, which the firm has also utilised in its smart TVs, offers a faster boost time, simple user interface and quick access to localised apps. The Z1 features dual SIM-support, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 768MB RAM and 4GB memory (expandable to 64GB with a micro-SD card), as well as a very modest camera with 3.1MPs at rear and VGA at front.

“The smartphone market in India is rapidly evolving, with many consumers using their device as their screen of choice for content including videos, television programmes and video games, as well as a range of apps,” Hyun Chil Hong, President and CEO of Samsung India Electronics said.

Samsung claimed the device’s 1500mAh battery allows seven hours of non-stop video and eight hours of talk time. “We have customized the Samsung Z1 to meet these unique, entertainment-focused needs of local Indian consumers for a personal and reliable mobile experience,” Hong said.

Samsung also said it will launch a free entertainment package called Joy Box, giving users access to music, TV and films, as well as premium content available on Club Samsung.

The thinking behind Samsung’s decision to launch a non-Android mobile probably stems from the vendor’s desire to create its own smartphone ecosystem to monetise in the post-device-sale market, which it currently effectively almost completely loses to Google.

The Tizen mobile has been in the making for a few years now, and the Z1 is a slightly lower-end version of the initial model announced last year. However, this is not necessarily a bad move. In fact, it looks like Samsung has weighed-up its options and decided targeting emerging markets is far more likely to gain its Tizen OS some market share rather than trying to compete with iOS and Android in the west. We know how well that strategy worked out for Amazon and its Fire phone.

In what seems a similar move to Samsung’s Tizen Z1, Microsoft has launched two new Lumia phones, 435 and 532, saying they are the cheapest yet in the device family.

“When we launched the first Lumia devices over three years ago, we said we were committed to bringing devices to as many people and price points as possible,” Jo Harlow, Corporate VP for Phones at Microsoft said.

“With the Lumia 435 and Lumia 532, we’ve realised our goal of creating the most affordable Lumia devices to date, opening up the opportunity to reach those people who are buying a smartphone for the very first time.”

The Lumia 435 and 532 mobiles are also targeted at emerging markets, specifically to consumers who are looking to upgrade to their first smartphone. The devices, which run on Windows 8.1, come with pre-installed Microsoft Office apps and 30GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. Both are available either as single or dual SIM-slot.

“Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 deliver competitive hardware alongside innovative software that will continue to receive the very latest updates and enhancements, keeping users up-to-date with the best new features,” Harlow said.

Both Samsung and Microsoft seem keen to get their foot in the door within the lower-end smartphone market. But not only that as it looks like they are attempting to lock-in customers to their own ecosystems rather than just relying on device sales. In the current market climate it is very difficult to grow revenues from device sales only.

Of course in Lumia’s case this model of creating a whole separate software ecosystem is nothing new. However, this time the market focus is different, and perhaps the Microsoft Office app bundling will help it along a bit more.

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