Why Is Samsung Making a Non-Android Smartphone?

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Samsung (SSNLF.PK) may use Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android in its products, but the two companies are not exclusive. In fact, Samsung is going to release a smartphone without Android very soon.

Samsung recently announced its Tizen phone, the company’s first smartphone that uses an alternative to Google’s operating system. The Samsung Z will make its market debut in Russia this summer after a premiere at the Tizen conference in San Francisco in early June. Following this, the phone will be released into other smartphone markets.

Tizen is an open source operating system. It began development under that name in 2011, before Android became the world’s dominant mobile operating system. Tizen is a Linux-based operating system, but it also has corporate roots. Its technical steering group includes Intel and Samsung, the latter of which retains much of the rights to the operating system. Tizen’s Software Development Kit License Agreement spells out that although Tizen is an open source product, any violation of its terms will get a developer in trouble with Samsung, not Linux.

Samsung may have a large stake in Tizen, but the majority of its products remain Android based – much to Google’s benefit. For many customers, Samsung is the Android brand. This association is not surprising, as Samsung is the top smartphone company in the Android market. However, this is hardly the firm’s first foray into non-Android territory.