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Samsung to Launch First Tizen Phones

The Galaxy S5 just went on sale, but Samsung is already gearing up to debut two new smartphones that are not based on Android. The company has announced plans to launch the first handsets based on its own Tizen operating system, a platform it hopes will make up as much as 15 percent of sales.

Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung’s product strategy team, told Reuters in an interview that the first Tizen phone will be a high-end device and the second will be a mid-tier model designed to generate higher sales volumes.

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Samsung previewed the latest version of its Tizen OS at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The software carriers over the look and feel of Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay for Android devices, including the home screen widgets and notification window. So current Samsung phone owners should feel right at home.

It’s no secret that Samsung wants to lessen its reliance on Google, especially since the two companies will be competing against each other in the wearables market. For instance, the newGear 2 and Gear Neo smartwatches are powered by Tizen, even though Samsung has also announced that it will be making watches powered by Google’s own Android Wear platform later this year.

The Samsung executive also says that he wants the Gear watches to work with all Androidsmartphones, which would be a shift from the company’s current strategy. For now, the devices sync only with Samsung’s own handsets.

As for the Galaxy S5, Yoon claims it is outselling last year’s Galaxy S4 at this stage, and that Samsung made a strong effort to whittle down the number of apps and features.

Mark Spoonauer, Laptop