Samsung Unveils Second Tizen Smartphone, the Z3

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Samsung has finally made official the Z3, its second smartphone running the Tizen operating system that will be made available to buyers in several markets.

The Samsung Z3 is an upgrade to the Samsung Z1 both in terms of design as well as specifications.

It is interesting that for its price (an equivalent of Kshs 13,500), Samsung managed to squeeze in a full HD Super AMOLED display as well as the same battery capacity (2,600 mAh) as that on the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy J5 (which costs $90 more!).

Other specifications (the leaks were spot on) include an 8-megapixel camera at the back and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB onboard storage that can be expanded up to 128 GB using a microSD card and a 1.3 GHz processor. The Ultra Power Saving Mode that we’ve seen in all recent Samsung devices of note is also present. As is the Ultra Data Saving Mode powered by Opera Max that we first saw on the budget Galaxy J2. Some may be disappointed that the Samsung Z3 is not LTE-capable since Samsung has been able to bring to the market some low-cost LTE devices like the Galaxy J2 and the older Galaxy J1 but this may be what it uses to differentiate them.

To most users, there is hardly any noticeable difference between Tizen and Android as experienced on Samsung smartphones. Thanks to its overzealous customization of Android, Samsung has managed to remove the heaven and earth difference between the two platforms at least from an interface perspective. TouchWiz on Samsung Galaxy devices is pretty much what Tizen is on the Z series of devices. There is the app gap but Samsung has been working on bridging it for the longest time ever (it’s what is said to have resulted in delays) and has so far managed to bring onboard developers of note like Facebook (Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp) and Rovio (Angry Birds) with more expected.

Tizen is Samsung’s own alternative mobile platform in partnership with the likes of Intel and several other partners including carriers that the Korean company sees as its future away from the influence of Google whose mobile operating system, Android, it has been using on most of its successful mobile devices. Tizen has been under development for quite some time and the latest version, 2.4, is yet to be made available even on the new Samsung Z3 smartphone which ships with version 2.3.

Before the Samsung Z1, Tizen was made available on another Samsung smartphone, the Z. However, the Z never made it to the market with its then scheduled launch in Russia being cancelled and all plans being thrown into disarray as a result. The company made up for that by releasing the Z1 in India half a year later. The Samsung Z1 went on to be a best-seller not just in India but also in neighbouring Bangladesh. Samsung even introduced the device into the Nepalese market as well. With the Z3, Samsung is expected to make the device available in even more markets. We have word that Kenya is also set to get a Samsung Tizen device in 2016 and the new Z3 may just be it.

Besides smartphones, Tizen has already been used by Samsung on its cameras, wearables and televisions.

The device is currently only available in India. We’ll update with more availability details as they become available.

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