Samsung Bada: Yet Another Open Mobile Platform

Samsung Bada "ocean" art

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has produced devices for platforms like Windows Mobile, Symbian, and most recently Android. But apparently that’s not enough for the company: Samsung has just announced “bada,” a new open mobile operating system for smartphones. According to Samsung, bada will enable consumers to have a “fun and diverse” mobile experience while offering the sorts of hooks and customization capabilities developers and device manufacturers look for in proprietary phone systems.

For the curious, “bada” means “ocean” in Korean.

“By opening Samsung’s mobile platforms we will be able to provide rich mobile experiences on an increasing number of accessible smartphones,” said Samsung executive VP Dr. Hosoo Lee, in a statement. “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.”

Samsung says the bada platform will debut in London with an software development kit (SDK) for programmers in December, although the announcement is very short on specifics. Samsung will apparently leverage its experience creating custom proprietary phone interfaces for bada, with an emphasis on developer simplicity, “ground-breaking” user interface design, and strong capabilities for tapping into Web-based services. Samsung is also promising bada will support a rigorous application ecosystem—seemingly powered by Samsung’s Application Store—so users can enhance and customize the functionality of their devices.

No word on when bada-bearing smartphones might launch into consumer markets, or what their price points might be.

Samsung is certainly taking a chance with bada: although the mobile market continues to expand and smartphones have proven to be high-margin, profitable devices for companies like Apple and RIM, competition is getting fierce with Android gaining momentum, Apple and RIM already well-established, Microsoft continuing to pound away on Windows Mobile, and Nokia scrambling to shore up its smartphone business with both Symbian and Maemo devices. Competition is undoubtedly a good thing for consumers, but Samsung may already be too late to this party to turn bada into a major player.

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