Monday 8 September 2014

Samsung Tizen OS enables phone calls with Gear S

Samsung enables phone calls with Tizen OS. Any threat to Jolla?

Not a smartphone, but a Smart Watch Phone Samsung Gear S powered by Tizen OS, including phone calls and HERE Maps with navigation. Is this  going to compete of the same customers and app developers with Sailfish OS and Jolla?

Samsung Gear S available in October 2014

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This device differentiates by its ground level design, but both Jolla and Gear S are non-Android devices sharing at least Linux and HERE maps
[Press] Samsung Gear S is a smart wearable device that expands the smartphone experience to the wrist. It delivers an up-to-date smart wearable experience with 3G connectivity and wearable optimized features to meet the evolving needs of consumers.

​“Samsung is leading this exciting and rapidly developing wearable category through progressive innovation,” said JK Shin, CEO and head of IT & mobile communication at Samsung Electronics. “The Samsung Gear S redefines the idea of the smart wearable and the culture of mobile communication. It will let consumers live a truly connected life anywhere, anytime.”
​Some details:
  • Powered by Tizen, a Linux based in-house operating system
  • Comes with HERE maps & navigation
  • 2" Super AMOLED display
  • 2G, 3G Call, Bluetooth Call, WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS/Glonass, USB
  • Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Emails, QWERTY Keyboard
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, UV, Barometer
  • 1 GHz Dual core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB Internal Memory

Competition ahead? 

Tizen never made it to be introduced on a traditional Smartphone device, one big issue being the lack of applications. Now Samsung mentions 1 000 apps available to Gear S, but sure the usable ones can be counted on tens. However, also Sailfish OS at this point has only 250 apps available in Jolla Store, and also with these the usable ones can be counted in tens. Both operating systems are Linux based, and it'll make the situation even more interesting. Especially if Tizen on Gear S is going to be more Open Sourced than Sailfish OS on Jolla.

Traditional smartphone beats any Smart Watch Phone in the usability of apps, having both bigger display and more horsepower to run them, but a Smart Watch Phone and a pad with nice sized display (still fitting into clothing) might give an option for what people are carrying with them all the time. The question is: Are Samsung and Jolla competing of the same customers and the same app developers with these devices?

As a customer I've already given a thought on getting a Smart watch. So far most of the options have been Android wearables - now what if I got a Linux Smart Watch Phone & compatible Linux Pad with the same price as a single smartphone? Well, this would make me think again - and I suppose I'm not the only one.

App developers like to see some money from their work at some point. Now which platform can offer this, Tizen or Sailfish OS? Neither has a paid app option for developers yet. Both have only few apps offering a lot free space to build and port on. Samsung has more money, and if Samsung wants to play ugly, they could buy every single app developer out from Sailfish side. On the other hand, aapp developers give value on these issues as well:

  • Usability of the SDK (software development kit)
  • Quality of developer support (documentation, reachability)
  • Speed of QA (How apps are checked and made available to public)
Based on the above, I share an opinion: We have a new competitor, and some actions might be needed from Jolla's side before October. The user interface of Sailfish OS is exceptional, and I don't see Tizen reaching that level, but we might like to see at least the navigation feature on Jolla's HERE maps and some great paid apps in Jolla Store. With these and some possible price tuning Jolla remains as an attractive option between these two - at least for now.

Mobile markets are alive and fast, in one day everybody might be carrying other devices than traditional smartphones. When this day comes, we don't know how many of the devices are powered by Sailfish OS or Tizen or some other OS. Whichever they'll be, it's good to have options for Android. Android's current market share is already at a dangerous level, a single company (Google) shouldn't have access into this much of information about peoples interactions and moves.

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Source: Samsung press release
Published: September 8, 2014 07:57 UTC