Samsung’s Android rival wants some respect, finally

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The Hilton Union Square Hotel in San Francisco was busier than normal as people hustled to grab boxed sandwich lunches.

The food was provided by Samsung, which played host to a developer conference last week to promote its homegrown Tizen operating system.

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In the first quarter of 2017, Tizen leapfrogged Google’s Android Wear software to become the second biggest operating system for smartwatches with 19 percent market share, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple, with its watchOS, had 57 percent of the market.

“It makes sense for Samsung to say, ‘Use Android where it does best,’ but Tizen has a really useful role to play in wearables and other places where Android has fallen short,” Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson said.

In 2015, Tizen made its way to Samsung’s smart TV lineup. It’s also now in smart home appliances, like the Family Hub Refrigerator. It’s those products where Samsung has an edge — it’s the world’s biggest TV maker and the largest home appliance vendor in the US. Google and Apple don’t have the same presence in larger electronics. Google didn’t have a comment for this report.

The day after my turkey sandwich lunch, I was back in the Hilton ballroom to meet with Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel. The location-sharing app is one developer that’s supported Tizen nearly from the beginning. It has built apps for Samsung’s smartwatches and at CES in January unveiled an app for Samsung’s Family Hub 2.0 refrigerator. During the developer conference last week, Glympse said it had developed an app for Samsung’s smart TVs that let you see the location of family members — or even your cable provider — right on the television’s display.

Trussel walked me over to Samsung’s flashy — and pricey — refrigerator to show me how I could track my Pizza Hut delivery on the appliance’s screen or see when my loved ones would get home. Then he showed me the same features on a large Samsung smart TV.

“The goal is anywhere, any device, any time,” Trussel said of the Glympse app.

Next up for Glympse and its Samsung partnership could be an actual Tizen phone app. The two companies are in talks about that now, Trussel said, and it’s likely Glympse will have an app for Samsung’s Tizen phones later this year.

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