Samsung takes Tizen app store worldwide to give its OS a boost

The app store for Samsung's Tizen, its alternative mobile operating system, has expanded from just two countries to 182 -- including the US, the UK and China.

The South Korean electronics giant confirmed the big jump in a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The application marketplace was previously available in India and Bangladesh, but is now also operating in such places as Australia, Canada, Japan and Mexico, according to a list published by Tizen-focused site Tizen Experts. For now, only free apps are listed in the marketplaces in the new countries.

By making the Tizen Store available globally, Samsung could be trying to tempt more developers into making apps for the platform. While Tizen has attracted some prominent developers to build titles for its platform, including game maker Electronic Arts, the Tizen marketplace is an afterthought for most developers. Google's Android and Apple's iOS mobile operating systems are where the vast majority of users are. Cash-strapped developers trying to get their apps to go as far as possible benefit the most from developing apps for those platforms. It's an issue that other second-tier operating systems, like Windows Phone and BlackBerry, deal with as well.

Tizen was initially designed to be Samsung's answer to the two dominant forces in mobile operating systems, Android and iOS. However, after a string of delays and setbacks, Samsung decided that it would offer Tizen as an alternative to customers in emerging markets who were seeking low-cost smartphones.

Earlier this year, Samsung finally launched its Tizen-powered smartphone, the Z1, in India and Bangladesh. The device is available for under $100 off-contract, making it affordable for customers who want to jump into the smartphone market but don't have the cash to buy a higher-end alternative running Android or iOS.

Tizen has also made its way to other Samsung products, including the company's wearables. A handful of wearables, including the Samsung Gear S and the Gear 2, are running on Tizen. Samsung said in January that Tizen will run on all of the company's smart televisions in 2015.

Now that the Tizen Store is available worldwide, Samsung could be positioning the marketplace for more usage and thus, attract more popular apps. Having more devices running on Tizen, including the smart TVs, could help its efforts in that area.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Tizen Store expansion.