Samsung unveils first phone using Tizen operating platform

SEOUL — Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest maker of mobile devices using Google’s Android software, will release its first smartphone using the Tizen operating system about a year later than planned.

The Samsung Z will be available in Russia in the third quarter before expanding to other markets, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement Monday. The device will have a 4.8-inch screen and will be on show Tuesday at the Tizen developer conference in San Francisco.

Tizen, which is being developed with companies including Intel and Vodafone, is an open-source alternative to Android, the most popular smartphone operating system. Asia’s biggest technology company previously said its first phone using the platform would be released by the end of September 2013 as it seeks to spark consumer demand amid slowing shipment growth and competition from cheaper Chinese producers.

“Samsung is trying to do anything to fill in the gaps in the third quarter but I don’t think the Tizen phone will give a big boost to Samsung’s overall smartphone sales,” Lee Do Hoon, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings in Seoul, said by phone. “The release of the new phone is nothing more than symbolic as it’s at a very early stage.”

The stock has gained 6.1 percent this year after a 9.9 percent decline in 2013.

The new device enters a smartphone market where global growth is expected to slow to 6.2 percent in 2018 from 19 percent this year, research firm IDC said in February.

Samsung shipped 316 million smartphones last year, more than double the 153 million iPhones of second-ranked Apple, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from IDC.

The Samsung Z in black and gold will feature a high- definition screen, 2.3 gigahertz quad-core processor and a fingerprint sensor, the company said. The company unveiled two wristwatches using Tizen in February.

Samsung plans to offer a special promotional program through the Tizen application store when the device goes on sale as it seeks to attract more developers to build software.

There are about 1.2 million Android apps, according to AppBrain. In October, Apple said it had more than 1 million apps for iPhones, iPads and iPods while Microsoft has 200,000 apps for its Windows platform, according to December blog post.

Samsung has been boosting incentives in its smartphones, including adding $600 of freebies to its Galaxy S5 marquee device, as it faces more competition from Apple as well as Chinese producers including Xiaomi and Lenovo Group.

Samsung’s mobile-phone business, which accounted for 76 percent of operating income in the first quarter, posted the lowest sales in five quarters as Chinese producers gain in emerging markets with cheaper, feature-packed devices.

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