Samsung is getting ready to unleash a Tizen-based handset in Russia and India, according to the mobile grapevine.
This tidbit comes from the Wall Street Journal today (via Reuters), who spoke to the usual sources in the know who said that Samsung is set to hold an "Unpacked" press event in Moscow to launch the Tizen smartphone, which will happen in the coming weeks – probably the next few weeks, according to other speculation. Namely, a previous rumour which stated that Samsung was set to unveil a Tizen phone in Russia this month.
That previous rumour also stated that the phone would be much like the Galaxy S4, a higher-end device in other words, which is likely to go on sale in the summer, first of all in Russia and then in other developing markets such as Brazil. Although the WSJ has pointed to India rather than Brazil.
At any rate, it seems clear enough, and also makes sense that emerging markets will be the test waters for Tizen. In case you haven't heard of it, Tizen might sound a bit like a knock-off copy of a soft drink, but is in fact Samsung's home-grown mobile operating system which it has been working on for a long time now.
There has been much talk about how Samsung has to try a transition to Tizen, as currently, Google takes a lot of the moolah from Samsung's success with Android handsets. Samsung may get the profits from hardware sales, but Google milks those pieces of hardware on the services and ads front throughout the device's life.
It's true that switching away from Android won't exactly be an easy process – understatement of the year – if indeed this is Samsung's long-term goal. Rather, it will be a necessarily slow and strategic shift, but this could be the first real step on that path.
Of course, Samsung has already introduced Tizen to its new Gear smartwatches which switched away from Android, but there are good reasons for this happening as opposed to just trying to wrest free of Google's control (as we discussed in our in-depth look at Samsung's new Gear trio).