It looks like Tizen OS, an open source mobile operating system originally designed by Nokia and Intel, could well be dead, with Samsung delaying its already previewed "Z" model.
This follows much activity by Samsung to polish the OS to the degree that it was able to use Tizen on one of its Galaxy Gear smart watches prior to Google's Android Wear standard going live, then capitulating to Android Wear with its latest models.
With a user interface that looked very similar to Samsung's Android phones, Tizen OS has always had one major problem: very few apps.
Click to enlarge
Previous attempts by smartphone and OS makers to get developers interested in creating apps for operating systems that aren't iOS or Android have been problematic.
BlackBerry users, for example, have nowhere near the app library of iOS or Android, with even Windows Phone 8.1 only able to boast of approximately 250,000 apps, compared with the 1.2M on iOS and over 1M apps on Android.
Tizen OS is the newest operating system of the lot, despite having been started years ago by Nokia as Maemo, and then renamed Meego when Nokia joined forces with Intel to better develop it.
Maemo went nowhere for Nokia, and Meego didn't go for Intel, so Tizen has been an attempt at "three times the charm" - except it seems to have ended up three times the dud.
An article over at Computerworld is one of many that has reported Samsung now delaying the release of the Tizen-powered Samsung Z, which was supposed to arrive on July 11 at a launch event in Russia, after first being previewed at a Tizen developer conference on June 3 in the US.
Sporting a 4.8-inch screen, a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, fingerprint sensor, ultra-saving power mode, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, a microSD card slot compatible with up to 64GB microSD cards and running Tizen OS 2.2.1, it looked like a Samsung Galaxy S phone but couldn't run any of the million-plus Android app library that helps make up for Android's deficiencies.
Numerous media outlets have reported receiving a statement from Samsung noting that it needs to "enhance the Tizen ecosystem" before launch, strongly hinting at the problems a lack of apps delivers, but without Tizen phones in developer hands or the hands of customers, there's not much incentive for developers to spend time on a brand new OS when there are rivers of gold in iOS and Android.
Samsung also issued a statement to TechRadar saying
"Samsung will continue to actively work with Tizen Association members pursuing to further develop both Tizen OS and the Tizen ecosystem", which sounds like it is supposed to inspire confidence in Tizen's future, but doesn't.
Samsung's efforts with Tizen have also caused friction with Google executives, as we've previously reported
Samsung also gave its "Knox" Android security platform for business to Google to build into the next version of Android, currently a developer preview codenamed Android "L", following the alphabetical releases of Android that have thus far reach K for "KitKat".
Computerworld quoted Carolina Milanesi, the Chief of Research at Kantar WorldPanel, as being surprised by Samsung's delaying of the Tizen phone over a lack of apps, as this has been Tizen's problem from the beginning.
It's also a worry because Tizen OS represents Samsung's current best hope of controlling its own OS destiny, rather than being forced to suck from Google's teat forevermore.
So, unless Samsung can rev up the Tizen app space and re-launch the Z with some decent apps at a solidly competitive price, all that might remain of Tizen is a future book entitled "Tizen and The Art of Android Marketshare Maintenance".