Samsung’s one of the most powerful Android manufacturers around, so hearing that the company is moving software engineering power away from its mobile division is sort of puzzling. Why would Samsung want to shift man power away from one of its biggest moneymakers?
According to Samsung, the company is hoping its mobile software engineers can work some of their magic in its other divisions. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the company said 500 software engineers will be moved to its electronics, TVs, network, printer and corporate software R&D departments in an effort to strengthen Samsung’s “overall software prowess.” What Samsung really wants, though, is to further Tizen.
WSJ cites Samsung as saying the move is being made “to enhance our competitive edge in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry and increase synergies for the Tizen platform.”
Samsung showed off a prototype Tizen TV solution back in June. Around the same time, the company talked about plans to launch a smartphone running on Tizen. Not to mention the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo already run on Tizen following Samsung’s decision to drop Android after the original Galaxy Gear. It’s clear company has high hopes for Tizen and is hoping that redistributing software engineers from its mobile unit will help Tizen flourish on other form factors.
The word of the week here is perspective. WSJ reports that by last year’s count, Samsung had 40,506 software engineers, and the company hasn’t provided any breakdown on how those engineers are distributed amongst its various divisions. Still, it’s safe to assume Samsung’s mobile division won’t exactly miss 500 engineers. Especially since the company has no plans to ditch Android in favour of an all Tizen approach (to do so would be suicide).
Honestly, IoT is probably where Tizen has the most room for growth. Arriving so late to the smartphone game with a proprietary OS is … a difficult sell. While the wearables segment has yet to really mature, most people want a device that plays nice with their phone, which means Android Wear is the clear leader, even though only a handful of devices have made it to market so far.
What this means for the Samsung Galaxy Z, the first Tizen smartphone, is unclear. The device was scheduled for release in Q3, but has yet to make an appearance. With its 4.8-inch 720p display, a 2.3 GH quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, an 8MP camera, and 2.1MP front facing camera, the Galaxy Z doesn’t look bad on paper. Hopefully this week’s revelation that some of the Tizen engineers are moving on from mobile means the phone was actually finished and will make it to market. The alternative is that Samsung decided Tizen phones weren’t worth the effort, which would be a sad result given how long this phone has been in the works.