It's a bold move by Samsung to emulate the success of iOS software, Android, or even Microsoft's Windows of the 1990s by attempting to create an ecosystem that is so vibrant, other device-makers and software developers will gravitate to it.
Samsung has been working for years on its home-grown Tizen mobile operating system, which would give it more control over the look of its smartphones and other devices now powered by Google's Android. The company has released smartwatches and cameras that run Tizen, and demonstrated prototypes of Tizen TVs. However, this summer, the company was forced to postpone the introduction of the Tizen-powered Samsung Z smartphone in Russia.
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The platform initiative comes as the world's leading smartphone maker looks to regain its mojo following a difficult third quarter in which its profits fell by half and its share of the global smartphone market contracted by 7 percent in the July quarter, compared with last year, according to the latest statistics from International Data.
Samsung's smartphone business is being squeezed on the high end by Apple, whose introduction this fall of the big-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus took away Samsung's chief competitive advantage. Meanwhile, on the low end, it is losing ground to local developers in China, India and Russia.
"They are not in a Blackberry or Nokia panic situation yet, as some in the media have surmised. But they need to figure a way out," said mobile industry consultant Chetan Sharma.
If Samsung succeeds in creating its own software platform — something consumer electronics companies have struggled with in the past (ask Sony) — it will be able to fundamentally differentiate its devices from the sea of Android devices around the planet, Sharma said.
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