Samsung Breaks Android Shackles, Launches $92 Tizen Smartphone In India

The earlier reports were off by a month, but at least Samsung’s Tizen-based Z1 smartphone is finally a reality. After nearly a year of stalling, failed launches, and developer apathy, the Z1 is launching in India for a relatively low 5,700 rupees ($92).

As we reported earlier, the Samsung Z1 is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 768MB of RAM and includes 4GB of internal storage plus a microSD slot. As you can see from the pricing and processor specs, this is a decidedly low-end smartphone and the 4.3-inch WVGA screen further confirms this. Other specs include a 3.1MP rear camera, VGA front camera, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11n, 3G connectivity, dual SIM capabilities, and a 1500 mAh battery which can provide up to 8 hours of talk time. Samsung has even teamed up to Reliance Communications and Aircel in India to give users 500MB of 3G data free per month for a six-month period.

Samsung Z1

The Z1 marks Samsung’s most significant effort to date in distancing itself from the long tentacles of Google’s Android operating system on mobile devices (nearly all of Samsung's smartphones and tablets run the Android operating system). In an article posted today on the Samsung Tomorrow website, the company states that the Z1 and its ilk are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Samsung talks up the efficiency of Tizen compared to other operating systems, remarking that it “requires less processing power and memory” and that consumers will experience “a smoother user experience through the likes of shorter boot time, faster web browsing, seamless multitasking” and “longer battery life.”

The South Korea-based company is hoping to weave Tizen throughout our daily lives, as the Z1 smartphone joins Samsung’s other Tizen-based efforts that have grown to include smartwatches, cameras, appliances, and televisions. And by spreading Tizen far enough to include a wide spectrum of consumer electronic devices and appliances, Samsung is hoping to court more developers to ensure that the operating system flourishes in the face of the vast software ecosystems provided by Android and iOS.

Tizen in the Big Picture

“While the Tizen ecosystem has tremendous potential for growth, we realize this potential cannot be realized without the participation of those at the core of any vibrant ecosystem: developers,” Samsung explained. “In turn, we have been working with developers across the world to help shape ground-breaking applications and connecting them with consumers.”

Samsung says that it sold over 665 million devices last year, so there is plenty of potential for Tizen in 2015 and beyond.