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Samsung Chimes In With Bada Mobile OS

By Jack M. Germain
Nov 11, 2009 4:00 AM PT

Does the mobile phone world really need yet another platform, open source or otherwise? South Korean-based electronics firm Samsung answered yes to that question on Tuesday when it announced the launch of Bada.

Samsung Chimes In With Bada Mobile OS

Bada, the Korean word for "ocean," is a new open platform that Samsung hopes will become a top phone OS in the future. Samsung envisions its new platform to enable developers to create applications for millions of new Samsung mobile phones and consumers to enjoy a fun and diverse mobile experience, according to company officials.

Samsung's announcement caught market watchers by surprise. After all, Samsung's newcomer open source OS will have to battle for recognition against at least two existing open platform mobile operating systems, Android and LiMO. In addition, Samsung already provides consumers with phones that run various other operating systems, like Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android -- and don't forget the added competition from Apple's iPhone platform.

"The mobile app market is one of the biggest battlefields today. Samsung believes it can do it better," Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst for IDC, told LinuxInsider.

Redefine the OS

Samsung's description of its new platform reads as if Bada has already won the fight for mobile platform supremacy. For example, the company is developing a "rich smartphone experience accessible to a wider range of consumers across the world." Bada brings a new platform with a variety of mobile applications and content.

Samsung credits its previous performance and experience in developing proprietary platforms on mobile phones as an assurance it can also create the new platform. The goal is to provide opportunities for developers, according to Samsung.

"By opening Samsung's mobile platforms we will be able to provide rich mobile experiences on an increasing number of accessible smartphones," said Hosoo Lee, executive vice president and head of the Media Solution Center at Samsung Electronics.

"Bada will be Samsung's landmark, iconic new platform that brings an unprecedented opportunity for operators, developers and Samsung mobile phone users around the world," he added.

Bada will give developers an easy to use environment, particularly in the Web services arena, according to Samsung.

Do We Need Another?

Rhetoric aside, Samsung has left more questions than it's answered, noted Llamas. He's taking a wait-and-see response to Samsung's promises.

"[Samsung] are not the only ones doing this. Bada just gives them more availability," Llamas said.

Among the unanswered questions are explanations about how Samsung will get carrier support for its new mobile OS. Also unknown is how much support Samsung will continue to give to the other platforms it now provides in its phones.

Finally, with other platforms sporting tens of thousands of apps already, how will Samsung differentiate its store offerings?

"This is a strategic move for Samsung to get into the development market," Llamas said.

On Tuesday, Samsung opened a Web site dedicated to information about Bada.

The platform's third-party applications will be available through the Samsung Application Store. Samsung will release the Bada OS SDK in December. The company expects the first handset to arrive in the first half of 2010.

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