Buried under the blizzard of Galaxy S5 activity this week, Samsung and its partners showed the latest build of the Tizen OS, and boy does it ever look like Android on Samsung’s phones.
Ars Technica has posted a video showing the OS in action, running on a prototype phone that looks a lot like a Galaxy S4. From the design of the widgets, down to its multi-app mode, it looks a lot like an actually Galaxy S4 running Android.
Of course, this is all fair enough. When we refer to Android on Samsung phones, we are really talking about the TouchWiz UI — a Samsung designed user interface that sits on top of Android. This is all Samsung’s hard work, and so this is not a problem, legally speaking. Samsung can do what it likes with the elements it has designed.
But it could turn out to be a major problem for consumers, especially those who don’t follow tech news closely. A phone like looks like a Galaxy S4 (or S5) will be enough for a lot of people, until they get home and realised that the new phone as a comparably empty app store and none of the Google services they were expecting.
Forging ahead with Tizen is a gutsy move by Samsung, but ultimately we can’t see how it will benefit its customers. Samsung wants control over the platform, which really means control over the apps ecosystem, which means more money. But it will having an uphill battle convincing customers to choose a new platform with limited content — just ask Microsoft.
That is, unless the customers don’t realise it is a new platform.
Check out a video of the Tizen prototype in action over at Ars Technica.