Samsung announces its first Tizen smartphone

Samsung Z_Gold_Dynamic

Samsung may be associated with Android thanks to the success of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, but the South Korean maker is also invested heavily in Tizen. The latter powers its new smartwatches and, via a software upgrade, older models as well. And, today, we can add a new device to the powered-by-Tizen list, the Samsung Z.

The Samsung Z is Samsung's first Tizen-based smartphone, which, on the outside, looks much like the company's premium Galaxy handsets. It features a physical home button, placed between two capacitive keys (home and menu), and a faux-leather back with stitching patterns, like on the popular Galaxy Note 3. It even borrows the now-obligatory gold color trim.

"Samsung is committed to enhancing the mobile experience of consumers with innovation that is both personal and unique to their needs", says Samsung's DJ Lee. "The Samsung Z integrates the power and adaptability of the Tizen platform, enabling users to browse the web faster and utilize applications more effectively".

Hardware-wise, the Samsung Z packs a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720 by 1280, backed by a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM and a a 2,600 mAh battery. It offers an 8 MP back-facing camera and a 2.1 MP shooter on the front. In the storage department, it has 16 GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot (can take cards up to 64 GB in size).

Connectivity features include 4G LTE cellular network support (Category 4 -- 150 Mbps download, and 50 Mbps upload), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy), USB 2.0, NFC, IR and GPS. It also comes with the usual slew of sensors, including a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor.

The Samsung Z comes in at 138.2 x 69.8 x 8.5 mm and 136 grams and is powered by Tizen 2.2.1. Samsung says the platform "delivers a fast, optimal performance with improved memory management", fast startup times, "immediate" multitasking abilities, smooth scrolling and other such features. It even gets the Ultra Power Saving Mode, which the Galaxy S5 touts. In terms of customization, users can tap into Dynamic Box and Color Theme.

Apps will be available through Tizen Store, and developers will be able to take advantage of a "special promotional program" for a year. Expect the usual Samsung enhancements to be baked in -- the company says Quick Shot, Best Photo and Dual Camera will be part of the camera user experience.

The smartphone will debut in Russia, in Q3 of 2014, with other markets to follow. On top of Gold, prospective buyers should know the Samsung Z will also be available in Black.

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