Will Google's rollout of Pixel lead to a broader use of Tizen by Samsung?
Yes, this is the smartphone version of the Cold War. And from 2012-2013, the release of the Samsung Galaxy S III made Samsung the most important and well known Android handset manufacturer. In fact, it might be fair to say that at the time, Samsung's hardware was considered more important for the success of Android than Google's development of Android itself. Samsung was following up on the strong popularity of the Samsung Galaxy S II with a handset that featured an even bigger screen, faster chipset and better camera.
The failure of HTC and LG to market their flagship phones successfully made Samsung the first name that consumers thought of when Android came to mind. The South Korean manufacturer was beginning to consider itself the sole reason for the success of the platform. Thinking that Google needed it more than they needed Google, Samsung made the first move by introducing Tizen OS.
While Samsung has subsequently limited Tizen to certain niche products like the entry-level Samsung Z2 handset released two months ago, and the Samsung Gear S smartwatch line, there has been speculation about a high-end Z9 handset to be powered by Tizen.
With Pixel, Google feels that the time is now right to compete directly against Apple and Samsung. Some of the new features on the Pixel will remain exclusive to the new line. Other features, like Google Assistant, are debuting on Pixel first. Samsung plans to fight back exactly the way it intended to in the first place, by using Tizen. To do that, it will need to build a high-end Tizen driven phone. That could be what the Z9 is all about.
At this stage, it is way too early to expect Samsung and Google to file for divorce. But it is something to think about as Google starts collecting pre-orders for the Pixel and Pixel XL.