In an interesting report out of Reuters’ Seoul bureau Wednesday morning, product strategy VP Yoon Han-kil shared details about Samsung’s 2014 plans, including a “high-end model” Tizen phone at the end of the second quarter and a “new form-factor” for the Galaxy Note.
Tizen, Samsung’s mobile operating system that incorporates its old Bada platform, has been in production since 2011 and has seen setbacks in the past, most recently when Japanese carrier DoCoMo decided not to carry a planned Tizen-powered phone. However, Samsung’s latest wearable smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear 2, uses Tizen, which may signal that Samsung’s ready to put it on a handset.
Han-kil described the two unreleased handsets as complimentary: one would be a high-end model meant to show off what the OS could do, and the other would be targeted at the mid-market in order to drive growth and sales volume. He didn’t mention the countries where the phones would be released, although it’s unlikely to be available in the United States, per previous Samsung statements.
The Galaxy Note, Samsung’s popular large-sized phone that doubles as a small tablet, may be in line for a redesign: citing “the slowing high-end market,” Han-kil mentioned Samsung was planning to release a new version with a “new form-factor,” which could imply greater integration with the recently released Galaxy Gear smartwatches. Samsung bundled the Galaxy Gear 2 with the Galaxy Note 3, and could take a similar approach later this year. “We’re trying out a lot of new things like wearables, convergence with home devices and cars,” Han-kil said.
A common complaint of the American technology press is that the Galaxy Note 3 is simply too unwieldy to use with one hand, or even as an everyday phone, so a redesign would presumably balance the desire of the existing Note consumer for a tablet-sized phone with the mass market enthusiasm for smaller, pocket-sized devices. Or who knows — the “new form-factor” could be a 10-inch sized tablet with voice capabilities. We’ll likely know in fall 2014.