When Samsung first launched the Samsung Z1 in January 2015, it was no mistake that the budget device was first launched in India. This was as a result of the Korean giant's recognition of the large population of feature phone users in India. This same pattern had played out when the Samsung Z3 and then the Z2 were launched.
Samsung announced its fourth Tizen-powered smartphone, the Samsung Z4 globally last week and in a symbolic move, India was the first to get the phone. There are over 500 million feature phone users in India and considering that most of the users would jump at the idea of switching to a smartphone for as cheap as $60, the market looked favourable. Rightly so, with the company revealing to have sold several millions of Tizen smartphones since the launch of the Z1.
Apart from the cheap price tag, the devices come with an easy to use interface marshalled by the Tizen OS. The Z4 takes it a tad higher as far as the styling, camera and flash are concerned. Even the Tizen operating system has also been upgraded in order to gain a wider appeal and bring in more features.
As the Managing Director of Samsung R&D Bangalore, Mr Dipesh Shah oversees much of the cutting-edge work involving the Tizen platform. He recently talked about the company's strategy in the market which is pivotal to the growth of the Tizen smartphones in India. Mr Shah had this to say;
“India is unique because even today about 50% of new phones sold in the market are feature phones. Compare that to China which has gone past features phones three years ago, Tizen is rightly positioned for the first-time smartphone users as its platform is very light and very fast."
Samsung is using the Tizen phones as a springboard to facilitate the journey from feature phones to smartphones. Gradually, there is a shift in hardware from the low-end found on the Z1 to higher specification hardware as found on the 4G LTE enabled Z2 and lately the Z4.
Mr Asim Warsi, Senior VP at Samsung Electronics India noted that as the market leader, Samsung considered it their priority to facilitate the journey towards smartphones. He also noted that the Korean brand's affordable Tizen series have been instrumental in catalyzing the smartphone upgrade. India is today one of the primary markets for Tizen and the growth of the Tizen phones from budget to mid-range right to flagship models globally may be tied to the growth rate of the Indian market. Thankfully, the emerging market is a fast growing one so, that may not take too long before we start seeing more upgrade on the Tizen phones.