In June, the second Tizen Conference took place in San Francisco. What’s Tizen, you ask? Don’t worry, it’s not important.
Perhaps those are harsh words for a young mobile operating system, but looking at Tizen gives you, basically, the same feeling as looking at a AA pitching ace on his first day in the majors: You’re most likely about to watch a very well-pedigreed, talented player run his ERA up from 0.00 to 90.00 in one inning.
And that’s what’s going on here. Tizen was launched as an alternative to iOS and Android. You could also call it an alternative to BlackBerry and Windows Phone, but then Tizen’s just competing with Android and iOS again for that title.
So why is Samsung dumping millions into expensive conferences, renting out AT&T Park, and giving away a $300 Gear 2 watch to attendees who only paid $50 to get in? The answer is a little elusive, but lies in the machinations of Intel and Nokia five years ago.
Back then, Nokia and Intel were hopelessly chasing the idea of building their own mobile phone OS. At the time, Nokia had just purchased Symbian, and Android was just getting started. Intel and Nokia decided MeeGo, a Linux-based OS for mobile devices and netbooks, was their next big platform for innovation.
So Intel and Nokia rented out sports stadiums, held low-cost conferences, and gave away high-cost hardware to folks that attended.
They did this for three years running, with the end result being that 100% of every dollar they spent on MeeGo was utterly and completely lost with absolutely zero return on investment.
Perhaps Samsung, as the largest single manufacturer of Android devices, is advancing Tizen as a way to leverage some control over Android, to make sure the operating system advances to enable the differentiating features in those devices.