We have previously reported about the launch of the Samsung Z1, running its homemade OS, Tizen, in India. This is one of the very few devices Samsung has unveiled running the said operating system, after the Samsung Gear smartwatch and the canceled Samsung Z.
It looks like the new handset isn't very welcome with consumers in India. Reports from Reuters say that the Z1 has received a "frosty" welcome in the country, with reviewers and consumers censuring the device for its "low-resolution cameras and dearth of software applications."
For a refresher, here are the specifications of the device:
- 4" WVGA IPS screen
- 1.2 GHz dual-core processor
- 786 MB RAM
- 4 GB internal memory (expandable to 64 GB via microSD card)
- 3 MP rear camera
- VGA front camera
- Dual SIM
Analysts and consumers reportedly suggest that the Z1 will struggle for success in the country, which currently offers about 280 smartphone brands, led by Samsung itself and narrowly followed by local manufacturer Micromax.
Mumbai-based filmmaker Samir Ahmed Sheikh offers his thoughts on the new device. He states:
"Samsung has been delaying the launch of this Tizen phone for a long time and when they finally did it, it turned out to be an under-powered phone,"
He also asserts that the smartphone's 3.1-megapixel rear camera and VGA front shooter are "like a phone from 2010."
IDC analyst Karan Thakkar has told Reuters that although the Z1's price tag of $92 beats many alternative devices running Android (some of which are apparently made by Samsung itself), there are still a lot of other options available at the low-end market in India. Thakkar states:
"It's not always about the cheapest, customers are looking for specs ... There are already a plethora of devices running on Android that Indian customers can choose from,"
Samsung has reportedly responded to the criticism on the device, stating that the Z1 has "exclusive benefits" including a simple UI, extensive battery life, and fast page loading. They also report that there are more than 1,000 apps available on the Tizen store. Despite this low count, Samsung reputedly hopes Tizen's integration with other devices like smartwatches and even the television would encourage developers to work with the platform.
It has been reported that sub-$100 devices account for nearly half the market in India, and that only one in every ten people in the country own a smartphone.
Furthermore, success with the Z1 in India could help the company reverse its dip in global market share, which is at 24.4 percent during the third quarter of 2014, compared to 32 percent a year earlier.
Samsung has not disclosed if they will release the Tizen smartphone to other countries, but they have stated that they would be focusing on India for the moment.