As Google begins Android Nougat roll out, Samsung launches Tizen smartphone in India

In spite of Android’s apparently relentless march to global dominance, its biggest vendor Samsung continues to invest in its own smartphone platform.

Google announced it has commenced the initial roll out of the latest version of its mobile OS and platform – Android 7.0, also known as Nougat as that’s a sweet beginning with N. As ever the first devices to get it will be the Google-made Nexus ones and then the broader roll out depends on how much effort your smartphone maker is prepared to put in.

There are apparently over 250 major features in Android Nougat, but perhaps the most noteworthy is the split-screen view that allows you to have two apps running in the foreground at once – handy for the increasing number of people who find being able to switch between a million apps at the touch of a screen still isn’t distracting enough. You can find some more highlights on the official Nougat page.

Android split screen

One company that has done very well out of Android is Samsung, which has been by far the number one global Android smartphone vendor for years. This has never been enough for the Korean tech giant, however, which would like to extend the relationship with its customers beyond the sale of the device and into recurring software and services business.

On Android Google pretty much owns that relationship and most Samsung efforts to impose its own fare on the platform have either been met by resistance from Google or been dismissed as bloatware. The only alternative, therefore, is for Samsung to develop its own mobile platform, which it has, called Tizen.

Tizen has been around for quite a while and is used by Samsung to run its smart phones, but has now found a home on the first Tizen 4G phone – the Samsung Z2 – which will launch on the Jio network in India and be pre-loaded with bespoke Jio and Samsung goodness.

“Samsung Z2 makes 4G accessible and relevant to the unique needs of feature phone users and first time smartphone buyers,” said Manu Sharma, VP of the Samsung India Mobile Business. “It brings consumers a fast and affordable mobile internet experience that will democratize 4G usage in the country.” The Z2 is has been priced at INR 4,590, which is under $70 and thus pretty cheap.

The reason no smartphone platforms other than iOS have been able to compete with Android is mainly down to apps, but also the fact that it is licence free. The latter is one of the main reasons Windows Phone failed while the former is pretty much a deal-breaker for most consumers. Only by offering a lot more bang-per-buck can a non-Android smartphone hope to compete and Samsung will be hoping the Z2 is just that, but precedent doesn’t offer much cause for optimism.

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