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Samsung Z mobe a NO-SHOW at Moscow Tizen Developer Summit

More launch delays for Samsung's Android-alternative smartphone OS

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Samsung has suffered another setback in its quest to offer the world an alternative to Android, having failed to launch the first smartphone running its Tizen mobile OS as planned.

The Tizen-powered Samsung Z does exist. There were plenty on display at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco in June. What conference attendees couldn't do, however, was take one home.

At the time, Samsung said it planned to launch the device as a Russia-only exclusive at a similar event this month. But although the Tizen Developer Summit in Moscow came and went this week, the Samsung Z was only on hand for show, once again.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the decision to scrap the Samsung Z's commercial launch came mere days before the Moscow conference was scheduled to begin.

Samsung gave no formal reason for the cancelation, offering only a statement saying "the smartphone will appear on the Russian market later, when we can offer our users a fullest portfolio of applications."

The South Korean firm has been all but begging developers to build apps for Tizen, which must play catch-up even with also-ran smartphone platforms like BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

But rounding out a new platform's app store is something of a chicken-and-egg problem, in that it's hard to interest customers in an OS that has no apps and it's hard to interest developers in an OS that has no customers. And it surely doesn't help that not even developers can get their hands on actual Tizen phones.

This isn't the first time Samsung has failed to bring Tizen phones to market, either. At last year's Tizen Developer Conference, the chaebol claimed that both France's Orange and Japan's NTT DoCoMo were on board to offer Tizen devices to their subscribers. But that was when Samsung planned to have commercial Tizen phones available by late 2013; after repeated delays, both carriers pulled out.

As recently as May, Samsung was saying its new plan was to launch the phones in Russia and India, but that was later revised to just Russia, and so far the Samsung Z remains a no-show.

That's not to say that Tizen is vaporware – not entirely. Samsung has launched a few devices running the Linux-based OS, in the form of its line of smart cameras and the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches.

Over the long run, the company expects Tizen to show up in all sorts of gadgets, ranging from wearables to televisions and in-car infotainment systems. But although the Tizen Association – the industry group that works with the Linux Foundation to manage development of the OS – keeps adding new members, none so far have committed to releasing actual products.

Meanwhile, with both Apple and Google moving into the much-buzzed-about Internet of Things (IoT) market, Samsung's window of opportunity to provide a third alternative may be rapidly closing. ®

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