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Samsung's new smart TVs in 2015 to be powered by Tizen OS

Samsung demonstrated TV sets powered by Tizen at developer conferences in 2014.

Se Young Lee | January 2, 2015 | Updated 14:09 IST
Samsung's new smart TVs in 2015 to run on Tizen
An exhibitor demonstrates a Samsung Smart TV that can be operated with a smart phone. (Photo: Reuters)

Samsung Electronics, the South-Korean conglomerate, said on Thursday that all its new smart television products launched in 2015 will be powered by the Tizen operating system, marking a fresh effort by the company to increase the usage of the software platform.

Smart TVs offer additional software and connectivity functions, such as video streaming and web browsing capabilities. Samsung demonstrated TV sets powered by Tizen at developer conferences in 2014.

"We are focusing our efforts on Tizen right now," Kim Hyun-suk, Samsung's president of visual display business, told Reuters in an interview. "We hope that other TV makers will also use it and help build an ecosystem that will help the platform grow."

Televisions would be an addition to the modest stable of Tizen products, which consists of a few smartwatches and cameras despite years of development and support by the world's top maker of smartphones and TVs.

The platform represents the most visible effort on the software front by Samsung, which has sought to free itself from Google's Android platform.

But Tizen has so far failed to take off, due in part to the South Korean company's failure to launch a smartphone powered by the OS. Some analysts are sceptical about the platform's viability despite Samsung's standing as top smartphone maker, especially as Android and Apple's iOS tighten their grip in the smartphone segment.

Developers say that until there is a meaningful user base for Tizen they will have little incentive to make innovative software applications for the system, deemed crucial if Samsung is to convince wary consumers to try it out.

While the launch of Tizen-based TVs will increase the platform's user base, it is unclear if that alone will be enough to pique developers' interest. Users of smart TVs tend to use fewer apps than they would on smartphones.

Still, the OS is expected to play a key role in Samsung's smart-home business. Tizen can also run on devices with low computing power such as refrigerators and washing machines, offering a way for users to monitor and control such devices remotely.

Samsung did not give sales targets for Tizen-powered TVs.


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