There was a terrible, unhappy time, not so long ago, when if you bought a cellphone, everything on it was proprietary. The charger, the software, and so on. Thanks to a combination of common sense and the fact that Android is dirt cheap, this has largely changed. Now Samsung would like to “fix” that situation, with an operating system called Tizen.
Let’s see here… Based on Linux? Plays well with HTML 5? May involve Intel? Open to a wide degree? We have a lot of interest in this, why do cellphone companies want it?
The carriers, in particular, see Tizen as a way to prominently place their own services and features on smartphones that ensure they maintain a strong relationship with the subscriber. Rather than Google services, for instance, they would use NTT Docomo services.
Well, that’s… uh… that’s spectacularly unappealing.
We understand that, to carriers, the idea of not being beholden entirely to Google is a good idea. If the company that makes your software is also directly competing with you, that is not an ideal situation.
But there are three points we want to make.
1) It’s certainly feasible, even reasonable, to want to compete with Google, but it is really, really hard. Keep in mind that when Apple decided that they didn’t need Google, they were going to make their own maps service and it was going to be awesome, it was possibly the most epic train wreck of 2012, First World Problems Division.
And Samsung, for all their virtues, is not Apple. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, what have you, are definitely not Apple. They’re not even Palm. Which brings us to point number two.
2) Everybody hates carrier mandated software. Seriously, carriers. You guys have the numbers. You know exactly how many of your users see your name on an app and bother to open it. Ever. This is because your software is, uniformly and without exception, godawful. And don’t argue that you just need time to find your feet. That’s like a mechanic telling you he can’t put a tire on your car without reinventing the wheel.
3) If you decide you’re going to run away from Android into the arms of Tizen, which is based on Linux, Google will just code apps for Tizen that everybody uses and we’re right back where we started. Unless you choose to lock those apps out, which is a great way to drive customers from Tizen.
None of this is to say that there shouldn’t be options for operating systems. Ubuntu for Smartphones, Tizen, these are all good things to have on the market. But if the ultimate objective is to bring back the bad old days of bloatware, then Google can’t make a new phone fast enough.