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Will China Mobile use Tizen to take over the world's largest smartphone market?

By
JohnPeter Elverding
 - 
Jan 11, 2014

A few days ago we mentioned NTT DoCoMo and Korean operators were teaming up for the SE Asian markets with a Tizen approach. Now it's also reported that Vodafone and Orange, pretty big players over here in Europe, have announced their intentions to reduce their dependency on Google and Apple by introducing Tizen based smartphones. A so will China Mobile, with 800 million (!) subscribers.

To be true, Apple won't take the biggest hit as it's driven by a group of evangelists, stylists and bloggers that more or less define heaven as iOS infinity. Judging by the iUsers around me they are pretty successful but it's in a market that has "need" but also cash to buy or to be sponsored by a telecommunications company.

Android, which is now more and more claimed, or roped in, by Google is a success because of the lower prices to begin with. A nice Samsung Android phone is way less expensive than an iPhone 5c , but the better components one wants, the more expensive it gets. Obviously, and that will also apply to Tizen phones: Better screens, faster 12-core processors or what can one be made believe to need.

According to a report from Japanese site Nihon Keizai Shimbun a few days ago, China Mobile is working with other members of  the Tizen Association to create a market for Tizen phones in China. Board members of Tizen Association and executives from China Mobile are rumored to find ways to create a Tizen phone to be released in China against a price that might enable many Chinese buyers to buy a Tizen OS smartphone. This could mean a price differentiation per market.

China is the world's largest smartphone market with almost 900 million mobile phone users on 2G. That will lead to a massive demand for a 3G/4G smartphone. At this moment over 10 million "novice" customers buy a smartphone..

Early December, Mr. Xi Guohua,China Mobiles' chairman, was said to have met with representatives of  SK Telecom and KT in Seoul. He was also said to have visited the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Suwon to meet with  JK Shin, Co -CEO and president of Samsung Mobile Electronics division.

His visit was mainly to discuss the supply of LTE/TDD phones from Samsung.

There is a big gap between the US and the Chinese approach to LTE/4g: China uses  Time Division Duplex where the US uses Frequency Division Duplex, a system also used in Korea and Japan. Samsung is expected to introduce LTE TDD to customers in later this year.

But, whatever the technology or technologies being uses, it's the need for wanted apps that will drive failure or success. In May last year in San Francisco, Robert Wang, the Project Manager at China Mobile, stated that the biggest problem Tizen would face would be the availability of apps. Like Windows Mobile 7  crashed because of a lack of apps people were used to have. The bright light at this tunnel is the ease that allows developers to port HTML5 compliant apps towards a Tizen phone near you. Challenges and Hackatons as well as smart developers are doing that right now, to the tune of million dollars of incentives.

What about your Most Important Tizen Apps? The MITA?

Now I am much smarter than my phone and I am a light user of apps: Evernote, whatsapp, skype, voipstunt and an Adblock supporting browser but also a routeplanner/navigator and some dutch apps, some of which I now are not HTML5 savvy. So an app that emulates Android would be fine but I know that dealing with zillions of hardware drivers won't make it an easy app.

What apps are absolutely necessary for you before you'd make the switch to Tizen this spring? Please let us know!

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