Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world's largest seller of mobile phones, said it will start selling smartphones this year featuring the Tizen operating system backed by Intel Corp.
"We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions," Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said in an e- mailed statement today. The company didn't elaborate on model specifications, prices or timeframe for their debut.
The new handsets will come as Samsung looks to reduce its reliance on Google (GOOG) Inc.'s Android operating system after the Internet search company acquired handset maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion in May. Executives from Intel, Samsung, NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) formed the Tizen Association last year to support the open-source software.
"The Tizen was born as Samsung hoped to lighten its growing dependence on Google on concerns that its top position in the smartphone market may weaken following the Google- Motorola tie-up," Byun Han Joon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities in Seoul, said by phone today. "Intel always wanted to boost its presence in the mobile CPU market."
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Dec. 31 that Samsung will release a Tizen-based smartphone through wireless carrier NTT Docomo later this year. The newspaper cited sources it didn't identify.