What Is Tizen OS?

This Linux-based operating system is on more devices than you know

Tizen OS is an operating system based on Linux. It's maintained by the Linux Foundation and used primarily by Samsung. Since the Tizen OS is open-source, developers can access it to create compatible apps and incorporate it into third-party devices like smartwatches and smart TVs.

Which Devices Use Tizen OS?

Several variations of Tizen OS have been developed to power different types of devices. For example, you'll find Tizen Wearable on various Samsung smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Gear series. Tizen Mobile runs on the Samsung Z series of budget smartphones. Other versions of the Tizen include OS IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) for cars and Tizen TV for smart TVs.

Tizen Wearable OS: Samsung Smartwatches

While most Samsung smartphones run on a modified version of Android, its smartwatches run on Tizen Wearable, which has an ecosystem of apps separate from Wear OS (formerly Android Wear).

The Tizen Store has a smaller selection of apps compared to Wear OS. However, it has a ton of watch faces. Samsung smartwatches also have the Gear app, which connects the wearable to a smartphone and builds a bridge between Tizen apps and the Android operating system.

Tizen OS works with the rotating bezel on Samsung smartwatches, making it easy to view notifications and navigate through settings and other parts of the interface. Samsung says the Tizen OS is optimized to allow for extended battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Watch display with fitness screen

Tizen in Smart TVs, Cars, and Smart Home Devices

The Tizen OS is also used in an array of vehicles to manage onboard entertainment and navigation. You'll also find it on Samsung Smart TVs and other smart appliances, including refrigerators, washers and dryers, thermostats, and light bulbs.

On TVs, Tizen is the interface you use to access streaming apps such as Netflix. Tizen also enables a smart washing machine to send you a text when the cycle is finished. Smart appliances connect with the Samsung SmartThings mobile app so that you can use your smartphone to control them.

Tizen vs. Wear OS

There are more Wear OS watches than Samsung watches because Google works with many manufacturers. All Samsung watches have a rotating bezel for navigation, which many users prefer over repeatedly swiping up-and-down and side-to-side. Some Wear OS watches have rotating bezels, but many do not.

Google encourages developers to add Wear OS support to apps in the Play Store, so there's a wider selection of apps available. Samsung watches have an array of built-in Samsung apps, but third-party apps are in lower supply. The company has collaborated with some third-party companies to create Tizen-friendly apps, including Spotify and Flipboard.

The other main difference is the built-in virtual assistant for voice commands. As it stands, Google Assistant, on Wear OS watches, is more popular than Samsung Bixby, but both platforms continue to improve over time. For mobile payments, Wear OS uses Google Pay, while Samsung watches have Samsung Pay.

Tizen app store with two rows of apps and a search bar