Samsung may be selling its Galaxy S phones and Galaxy tabs to the world, but it is making zilch in China and the company is not happy about it.

Differentiation in China. China wants Internet censorship. Google doesn’t want to be evil. So, Google’s trouble with China ended up with the former’s celebrated mobile platform – Android – being out of control in the country.

Lots of phone manufacturers in China use Android because it’s open source and free. However, most of Google’s services like Search, Gmail and YouTube are blocked there. So, China’s device makers have removed most, if not all, of Google’s apps and features from the Android platform, and replaced them with apps from Chinese software companies, the most common being Baidu’s search engine that took the place of Google Search.

As for the app store, Google Play is snubbed by Chinese developers because it does not support paid apps in China. Instead, developers are putting their apps up on local Chinese Android apps stores like Tencent, HiMarket and GFan.


Tizen Screenshot. Source:

An inconsistent Android platform in China is not very appealing to a major device maker like Samsung that will be shipping up to 70 million Galaxy S4 smartphones in 2013.

Samsung sees the Android in China as “broken”. It is not able to make money from the Android not using Google’s suit of apps (Samsung gets 10% of Google’s online advertising revenue). Also, for Samsung to continue to drive their phones with Android in China, they will merely be another device maker with a “broken OS”. They will be in the red ocean with thousands of China-made Android phones.  And Samsung, the global brand, does not like that.

With Tizen, Samsung can differentiate itself in China. When it starts taking a commanding lead of its Tizen-based smartphone sales, they can make deals with giant Internet companies like Baidu to incorporate their search engine and complementing apps for revenue sharing, just like what it is presently doing with Google ex China.

Big Bets on HTML5 and Own App Store. China is not the only factor compelling Samsung to push toward a new mobile OS. There is strong evidence of HTML5 adoption. According to KendoUI’s 2013 Global Survey comprising 5,000 developers, the majority said they would use HTML5 to build apps for multiple mobile platforms. Samsung is betting big on HTML5 and web apps with Tizen. They are developing Tizen with a comprehensive HTML5 implementation. As of today, Tizen scores an astonishing 492 out of a maximum of 500 points in the HTML5 test, making it the elite among all other rival browsers.

tizen browser test

Tizen HTML5 Test Result. Source:

The Tizen Association includes Asian telco giants such as NTT Docomo, Huawei, KT Corporation, SK Telecom. Even non-Asian titans such as Orange, Sprint and Vodafone are on board. Why are these telcos so excited over Tizen? First, Tizen is a very open platform without any restrictions as to the apps or services that can be integrated with it. This will allow telcos to tweak Tizen to prominently highlight their services on the Tizen smartphones they will sell. Second, these telcos are increasingly going beyond just being a dumb data pipe. They are evolving and enriching their subscribers experience with HTML5 and cloud-based apps. And they are betting on the mobile web (HTML5, CSS and Javascript) for superior delivery of these apps.Telcos could then bundle and offer these attractive apps with Tizen smartphones.

During Tizen’s Developer Conference in May 2012, the Chairman of Tizen Association, Kiyohito Nagata, Senior VP of NTT Docomo, gave a very compelling presentation of the company’s hopes for Tizen. The “docomo cloud” has a variety of cool apps that will be delivered to the Tizen smartphone via HTML5:

Mail-Hon’yaku-Concier™: An app that performs Japanese-English, Japanese-Chinese and Japanese-Korean text translation for a collection of text messages including emails and social networking messages.

Shabette-Concier™: The Japanese version of the iPhone Siri, providing answers to a multitude of voice requests.

Photo Collection™: Allowing users to store up to 5GB of photos and videos FOC. Can be viewed on all devices ranging from desktops to phones to tablets. Innovative technology to sort and group the photos based on facial and background recognition.

dmarket®: Content portal for smartphones and tablet. The portal traditionally offers android apps and its own i-mode content, but is being boosted to offer anime, music and e-books via the mobile web.


Tizen Screenshot. Source:

There are many reasons to go HTML5. Developers can rapidly develop and deploy innovative web apps. Web apps support multiple platforms. They deliver immediately (no downloads necessary) and are fully controlled by the company that develops them, without being held ransom by app stores.

Just as these telcos, together with Samsung, are joining forces to develop Tizen, they could possibly team up to build and run a Tizen app store. Tizen makes it easy to port existing Android apps. The combined firepower of Samsung and company will sway developers to create apps for Tizen. Clearly, the big boys can smell big profits coming their way.


Tizen Screenshot. Source:

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