Samsung launches smartphones in India with Z1 device

Tuesday 20th January 2015 07:16 EST
Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi at the launch of the Samsung Z1

In a move to break away from Google and build its own revenue generating platform, Samsung Electronics has launched its first smartphone powered by its Tizen operating system. The South Korean company is targeting first-time smartphone users with the Z1 device, which went on sale in India for Rs 5,700 ($92). It will be one of Samsung’s cheapest smartphones, allowing the company to better compete with low-price offerings by Indian rivals such as Micromax.

The launch marks a step in Samsung’s efforts to reduce its overwhelming reliance on Google’s Android operating platform. Plans to launch the first Tizen-based smartphone, initially set for 2012, have been repeatedly pushed back, mainly due to slow progress in getting developers interested in creating the array of apps that consumers would demand.

Samsung is trying to revive profit growth after suffering its first full-year profit fall since 2011, squeezed by fast-growing Chinese rivals and the success of Apple’s latest device, the iPhone 6.

The group hopes the Z1 handset, which offers localised entertainment apps, will appeal to young consumers in India - already the world’s third-largest smartphone market but still in the early stages of smartphone adoption.

“The smartphone market in India is rapidly evolving with many consumers using their device as their screen of choice for content including videos, television programmes and video games,” said Hong Hyun-chil, president of Samsung’s Indian operations. “We have customised the Samsung Z1 to meet these unique, entertainment-focused needs.”

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