Without a doubt Samsung is the dominant player in the Android smartphone market so the news that it has made a non-Android smartphone might come as a bit of a surprise. The new Samsung Z drops the familiar Galaxy branding, as well as the Android operating system in favour of Samsung’s home-grown Tizen operating system which has been developed in conjunction with silicon manufacturing giant Intel.
While you may not have heard of Tizen, you will have almost certainly heard of Samsung’s new Gear 2 and Gear Fit smartwatches which run on the Tizen operating system.
The new Samsung Z has a rather similar-looking spec sheet to Samsung’s LTE version of the Galaxy S III smartphone. The display has a decidedly 2012 resolution of just 720p, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage that can be expanded by up to 64GB using a microSD card. The processor is a 2.3GHz quad core unit with LTE which we suspect will have have come from Intel’s latest Merrifield stable or – less likely but still plausible – one of Samsung’s own Exynos chips. Rounding out the specs is an 8-megapixel camera and a 2 600mAh battery along with the fingerprint scanner and heart-rate sensor from the flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S5.
Software-wise the Samsung Z borrows many of the Galaxy S5’s best features, like the Ultra Power Saving Mode that allowed for 10% of the battery to last for up to an entire day by shutting down non-essential services. That joins the LTE and WiFi-bonding Download Booster and S Health 3.0 for the fitness-inclined. The actual look of the interface is similar to the Galaxy S5’s, with a set of flat, rounded icons visible in the press images.
From a design standpoint, the Z borrows the faux-leather backing of the Galaxy Note 3 but incorporates it into a more rounded back design reminiscent of the company’s OMNIA 7 Windows Phone that launched in 2010.
The Samsung Z will be available in Russia sometime in our Spring time with no pricing information or local availability known yet.[Images – Samsung Tomorrow]