Why it matters to you
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 may be the high-end smartphone to beat, but it isn’t exactly affordable. Luckily, the Seoul, South Korea-based smartphone maker is offering more than a few affordable alternatives to its flagship phone, and one — the Samsung Z4 — runs the latest version of the company’s homegrown Tizen operating system.
Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Z4.
If rumors are to be believed, the Samsung Z4 will be the first phone to run Tizen 3.0.
Tizen, for the uninitiated, is Samsung’s open-source alternative to Android. It powers tens of million of the company’s smart TVs and Samsung Gear smartwatches.
The bulk of Tizen 3.0’s new features focus on performance. According early developer notes, the update packs Khornos’ Vulkan graphics API, which minimizes overhead and reduces CPU load, and the speedy open-source web runtime Crosswalk. There’s support for 64-bit Intel and ARM CPUs, too, which Samsung says should boost CPU-intensive apps like video editors and games.
That’s not all that’s new in Tizen 3.0. It supports multiple users on a single device, and voice commands via S Voice. And new recognition APIs support facial detection and image recognition.
Samsung’s also improved Tizen’s security features. Tizen 3.0 introduces a “new security model” that simplifies “policy management,” and an “anti-virus framework” and “privacy guard” that aim to ensure rogue applications don’t gain access to personal information.
That’s encouraging news in light of an April report that painted an unflattering picture of the operating system’s flaws. According to Motherboard, Tizen contains as many as 40 unknown bugs, or zero-days, that could allow a cyber criminal to hack devices without needing to physically access them. One vulnerability involving TizenStore, Tizen’s app store, could let a hacker pack malicious code in a software update.
In response to the report, Samsung said it was working on addressing the exploits. And based on what we’ve seen of Tizen 3.0, that certainly seems to be the case.
The Samsung Z4 won’t blow anyone away with its specifications. But for a budget phone bound for developing markets, they’re par for the course.
The Z4 reportedly packs a 5-inch HD (1,280 x 720 pixels) Super AMOLED screen powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of onboard storage inside (expandable via MicroSD slot), and accouterments like Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, a 3.5mm audio jack, GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0 slot.
An 8 MP rear camera and 5 MP front camera handle picture-taking duties, and a 2,050mAh battery supplies a full day of power.
Release date and price
Samsung has yet to announce pricing or availability for the Z4, but it likely won’t be expensive. The Samsung Z3, its predecessor, retails for the equivalent of $87 (5,590 rupees).
And likely won’t come to the U.S., either. Samsung currently sells Tizen smartphones in India, Russia, China, and other select markets.
Still, there’s a chance the Z4 will be different. We’ll keep our eyes peeled.