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Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It is the largest South Korean chaebol. Key subsidiaries include Samsung Electronics, Samsung Heavy Industries, Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T.

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Samsung sets sights on August release for new high-end Tizen smartphone

Open-source platform could be in use from August as company seeks Android alternative

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 March, 2013, 3:32am

Samsung, the biggest seller of devices using the Android operating system, plans to release a smartphone powered by the open-source platform Tizen as soon as August.

"The Tizen phone will be out in August or September, and this will be in the high-end category," Lee Young-hee, executive vice-president of Samsung's mobile business, said.

"The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications."

The model will be one of at least three premium handsets released by Samsung this year - including the Galaxy S4 unveiled on Thursday and a new Galaxy Note - to compete with Apple and Chinese producers in a slowing market.

Samsung is among 12 companies, including Intel and Sprint Nextel, which are developing Tizen as an alternative to Google's Android, which runs two of every three smartphones worldwide.

There currently are no Tizen devices sold globally.

The first users will have "thousands" of applications to choose from, according to Chase Perrin, an official with the California-based Tizen Association.

"Android, among other mobile operating systems, is tightly controlled," Perrin said.

"As an open-source software platform, Tizen is designed to make it easy to develop for a range of devices."

Samsung, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, is under pressure to develop its own software after Google, owner of the world's most popular search engine, acquired handset maker Motorola Mobility for more than US$12 billion in May, boosting its patent portfolio.

South Korea-based Samsung relied on Android for 96 per cent of its smartphone shipments in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg.

The company released its Bada software in 2009, and it is used primarily in lower-end smartphones in Europe and emerging markets.

Samsung's new flagship S4 uses the latest version of Android.

"This is just sort of a safety net," said Doh Hyun-woo, an analyst for Mirae Asset Securities. "But if Google dominates the market just like Microsoft did in the PC market with more than 90 per cent share, it may turn totally opposite."

Samsung fell 2.4 per cent in Seoul trading. The stock has gained 19 per cent in the past 12 months compared with a 2.4 per cent decline in the benchmark Kospi index.

Samsung sells about a quarter of all mobile phones globally, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. It shipped 213 million smartphones last year, compared with 135.8 million for Apple and 35 million for Nokia.

Android's share of the global smartphone market rose to 68.4 per cent in 2012 from 48.7 per cent a year earlier, according to a January report by Strategy Analytics. Android and Apple's iOS software combined for 87.8 per cent of all smartphones shipped last year.

Huawei Technologies, the mainland's largest maker of telecommunications equipment, is among the manufacturers developing the Tizen operating system.

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