SEOUL (AFP): Samsung announced Monday the launch of a new smartphone based on its own operating system, in a step towards independence from the Google Android platform that dominates its popular handsets. The Samsung Z, which has been specially developed to run on the Tizen platform, will go on sale in Russia in the third quarter of this year before reaching other markets, Samsung said in a statement. The new smartphone will be unveiled Tuesday at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco.

The vast majority of Samsung’s devices, including its flagship Galaxy S smartphones, use the Android operating system. The electronics giant has tried for years to strengthen its mobile software business as a genuine complement to its mighty device-making operations.  Its first homegrown operating system - named Bada and launched in 2009 - largely flopped on a lukewarm response from app developers.