The Galaxy S4 looks cool, but Tizen could change the mobile landscape

We’re buried under an avalanche of headlines following Samsung’s much-hyped coming-out party for the Galaxy S4, which has thus far drawn a lukewarm reception despite some eye-popping new features. (The mixed response to the device is far better than the reviews for the launch event itself, which has been slammed for being painfully long, politically incorrect and even “downright sexist.”)
Samsung’s most important news, however, may not have come from the event but instead from this interview with Lee Young Hee, the company’s executive vice president of mobile business. Samsung will produce at least three premium handsets running Tizen this year, the executive said, the first of which will come to market in August or September and will “be the best product equipped with the best specifications.” And two of the upcoming Tizen handsets will sport the Galaxy brand, which has generated impressive cache as a line of top-notch Android devices.
That’s somewhat surprising because many had expected Samsung to target emerging markets with a line of low-end and mid-range products running Tizen. But while emerging markets have tremendous potential, they are also tremendously competitive. And Samsung already has a play there with its own bada platform, which blurs the line between feature phones and smartphones. Samsung is hedging its bets by stepping up its game with Android devices and services, but given the company’s status as the top smartphone vendor worldwide we could see Tizen emerge as a major high-end operating system in the next few years.