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After Failing to Take Hold in Smartphones, Tizen Aims to Broaden Its Reach

Reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated, according to backers of the Intel and Samsung-led open source operating system effort.

Aiming to put a brave face on what has clearly been a bumpy start, backers of Tizen on Sunday insisted that the operating system has a bright future on a range of devices.

The chairman of the Tizen Association, Roy Sugimura, acknowledged he has spent much of the past year refuting reports of the operating system’s demise. However, he said that Tizen has actually broadened in focus, and may someday power everything from TVs to watches.

The biggest Tizen news was Samsung’s announcement earlier this weekend that the operating system will power the next generation of Gear watches.

The Intel and Samsung-backed operating system is off to a slower-than-expected start. Despite earlier hopes of seeing Tizen on a range of devices, the only commercial product currently on the market is the NX 300 camera from Samsung.

Sugimura, who is also a director in NTT DoCoMo’s technology planning group, told Re/Code that his company and Samsung probably made the right decision to hold off launching Tizen phones in Japan.

He said that DoCoMo’s launch of the Apple iPhone at subsidized low prices left little room for Tizen or other upstarts in the Japanese market.

“How can I compete in such a very difficult market?” Sugimura said in an interview.

Sugimura said that he still hopes that Tizen-based smartphones will reach the market this year, even if not in Japan. He also said that Samsung’s decision to use Tizen for its new smartwatches could help the operating system take hold in that market. Wearables, he noted, lack a dominant operating system.

Nonetheless, this scene from Monty Python still comes to mind.

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