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Samsung counters Android One onslaught with Tizen-run Z1 device

Samsung counters Android One onslaught with Tizen-run Z1 deviceBattling stiff competition from lower-priced smartphones running on Google's budget Android One platform, Korean mobile giant Samsung got in an all-new smartphone, Z1, powered by its proprietary Tizen operating system. 

The new device has been priced at Rs 5,700 and Samsung will look to use the phone to counter rising competition from Android-run low-priced devices from homegrown companies like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava, apart from other players like China's Xiaomi. 

Tizen, which has so far been deployed in Samsung's smartwatches and cameras, is yet another attempt by the Korean phone major to push an in-house platform on its devices after the failure of the Bada OS which was launched in 2009. 

Samsung said that Z1 (not to be confused with Sony flagship device) will help it counter rising competition not only from low-cost Android devices but also get a higher share of feature phone buyers who will find it as a viable cost-effective option. 

"The whole positioning of Z1 is based on consumer demand and aspirations. The feature phone market in India is very large and people are looking to upgrade," said Asim Warsi, VP (Marketing) for Samsung India's Mobile & IT division. 

This is not the first time that Samsung is making an attempt to tap the feature phone upgraders with low-priced non-Android devices. In 2013, the company had launched a host of smart feature phones under the 'Rex' series but they failed to create a major impact in the market as Android-run devices became more affordable. 

The Z1 makes its global debut in India and Samsung said Indian R&D has had a major share in the development of the device. 

Warsi said that the company is confident of meeting the low-cost Android onslaught with the Z1 as the new phone bundles a lot of popular features and apps, apart from a durable battery life. 

However, the app eco-system around Tizen is miniscule when compared to the hundreds and thousands available in the Android set-up. This can be an obstacle to Samsung's plans. 

Samsung says more than 1,000 apps will be available for download in the Tizen Store, which is a small fraction to the vast choice available on Android. There have not been a flurry of apps developed around the Tizen OS as third-party developers stayed away due to the delay in the launch of the platform.

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