SEOUL, Jan 14 ― Samsung Electronics Co is making a break from Google Inc today, selling a US$92 (RM331) smartphone in India that runs its own homegrown Tizen software rather than the search giant’s Android operating system.

The Samsung Z1, which has 3G capability and a liquid-crystal display, is selling for 5,700 rupees, the world’s largest smartphone maker said in a statement. It’s the first phone using Tizen, which Samsung developed to challenge the Android programme that powers most of the world’s mobile devices.

A Tizen phone was the missing link in Samsung’s plan to build a revenue-generating platform similar to those run by Google and Apple Inc. Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae Yong is trying to revive profit growth at the Suwon, South Korea-based company and defend against new iPhones and cheaper Chinese models from Xiaomi Corp and Lenovo Group Ltd.

“The Indian market has shown incredible smartphone growth, and we believe migration from feature phones to smartphones will increase,” said Asim Warsi, vice president of Samsung’s India unit. “India’s mobile market is in the early stages of smartphone adoption and is open to new smartphone platforms that are open source.”

Samsung, also the world’s largest maker of TVs, unveiled its first Tizen-powered sets at the Consumer Electronics Show and announced that Web-connected models it sells this year would use the operating system. It released the wristwatches Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo in April, and both are compatible with many of Samsung’s Galaxy phones.

While Samsung had previously discussed introducing a different Tizen model called the Z in Russia, that plan hasn’t materialized. Four other lower-margin smartphones that the company announced for the Indian market January 6, including the Galaxy E5 and E7, all run on Android. ― Bloomberg