Samsung Tizen Should Be On Your Development List

Allan Isfan
Allan Isfan

When you’re evaluating which TV platforms you need to reach with your application, Samsung Tizen TV needs to be on your list.

Our team at You.i TV was invited to present our unique native app development approach for this popular platform, as the newest approved development solution for Samsung Tizen TV, at the Tizen Developer Conference last week in San Francisco.

While we were there, we heard echoes of many conversations we’ve been having with clients, who are all focused on the importance of delivering a stellar 10-foot experience on every platform.

After two full days immersed in Tizen with executive presentations and private meetings, I personally came out of the experience with three key learnings regarding the Samsung ecosystem and TV in particular.

In short? Tizen is on a tear.

1) With nearly 100 million devices, Tizen is a must-have for scale

I have to admit that I didn’t truly comprehend the scale Tizen has achieved in the last few years in terms of breadth and depth until this conference.

As most know, Samsung uses Android for many of their smartphones, but they are now very much focused on using Tizen , especially in emerging markets. Affordable Tizen phones will likely find their way into primary markets in the coming years, and it’s not hard to imagine that Samsung could gradually step away from Android.

Tizen is also used in smart appliances like fridges, which come equipped with large built-in screens in the doors, wearables like watches (I’m loving my Gear S3), small IoT devices and, of course, smart TVs.

When it comes to TVs, Samsung is the worldwide leader with a quarter of the worldwide market, twice the market share of their closest competitor. In addition, the large majority of Samsung TVs are now smart TVs, and they’ve shipped with Tizen since 2015. Only a few basic TV models remain, and they’re at the low end of the market. In effect, almost all of Samsung’s TV are shipping with Tizen — which means we’re talking about tens of millions of sets since 2015.

Overall, the Tizen OS is expected to reach 100 million devices by the end of 2017 and as a complete ecosystem, it’s going to power the experiences of the future. It goes without saying, you need to make sure your app is a part of it.

2) UX and UI are more important than ever

Let’s be honest here: older Smart TV interfaces delivered a less-than-optimal user experience. It was hard to find something to watch, and a lack of keyboard or voice commands left people frustrated. Many didn’t use their smart TV functions as a result, which led many content publishers to de-prioritize smart TV platforms in their development queue.

That is no longer the world we live in.

The Tizen 2015 interface was a massive improvement over the former Orsay operating system, and it received a major face lift in 2017. Samsung has changed the main TV lander substantially for 2017, opting to go with a personalizable dock — not unlike the dock on a Mac.

Between the new UI and voice search, the updates make it substantially easier to find content.

The interface improvements in Tizen OS put even more pressure on apps to match the fluidity and design. After using a great UI on the main TV lander, users won’t stand for sluggish or generic interfaces from their content providers.

To capitalize on the improved OS, brands are choosing to go with a native approach and a workflow that allows them to quickly change their UI. One major brand told me they want to tweak their UI every couple of weeks — it is that important! If rapid iteration is on your wishlist, it’s imperative that your changes be implemented quickly, and to make sure that happens, the best approach is to work with a single-codebase approach that can roll out changes to all of your target platforms.

3) Smartphone, smart TV, smart appliances… smart home

Tizen is taking a long view of the home, with a goal of bringing all smart devices together. For example, the more recent TV sets feature One Remote, a single, simple remote to control all your devices, smart HDMI jacks that help you avoid the need to constantly switch inputs. Most importantly, they’ve integrated voice control, so you can just say what you want to watch.

It doesn’t end there. Samsung is increasingly exploring dual-screen smart TV and smartphone experiences, 360-degree video and smart home extensions so you can control your lights, temperature, security systems, play music and even check the camera in the fridge.

Between the substantial moves made by Samsung in 2017 and those of its competitors, I expect 2017 is the year of the smart TV. When the experience and apps on platforms like Tizen are on par with other connected TV devices like streamers and consoles.

So for content providers, that means the time to figure out your smart TV app development plan was yesterday.

At You.i TV, we are taking smart TVs very seriously within the context of 10-foot app development. We partnered with Samsung a year ago to integrate our premium cross-platform You.i Engine and associated workflow with the Tizen app workflow. This will help developers create native, high-performance apps with low latency and fluid graphics.

Premium brands have been waiting for this solution to reach Tizen TVs, and we expect to release multiple apps in 2017.

Bottom line — With ever increasing market share, an improved UI, and a calculated multi-screen agenda for user-centered products across the entire device landscape, apps need to keep up, and that includes yours because Samsung Tizen is shooting to the top of your development queue.

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