Does the mobile phone world really need yet another platform, opensource or otherwise? South Korean-based electronics firm Samsung answered yesto that question on Tuesday when it announced thelaunch of Bada.
Bada, the Korean word for “ocean,” is a new open platform that Samsunghopes will become a top phone OS in the future. Samsungenvisions its new platform to enabledevelopers to create applications for millions of new Samsung mobilephones 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 recognitionagainst at least two existing open platform mobile operating systems, Androidand LiMO. In addition, Samsung already provides consumers with phonesthat run various other operating systems, like Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android — anddon’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 researchanalyst for IDC, told LinuxInsider.
Redefine the OS
Samsung’s description of its new platform reads as if Bada has alreadywon the fight for mobile platform supremacy. For example, the companyis developing a “rich smartphone experience accessible to a widerrange of consumers across the world.” Bada brings a new platform witha variety of mobile applications and content.
Samsung credits its previous performance and experience in developingproprietary platforms on mobile phones as an assurance itcan also create the new platform. The goal is to provide opportunitiesfor developers, according to Samsung.
“By opening Samsung’s mobile platforms we will be able to provide richmobile experiences on an increasing number of accessible smartphones,”said Hosoo Lee, executive vice president and head of the Media SolutionCenter at Samsung Electronics.
“Bada will be Samsung’s landmark, iconic new platform that brings anunprecedented opportunity for operators, developers and Samsung mobilephone users around the world,” he added.
Bada will give developers an easy to use environment, particularly in the Web services arena, according toSamsung.
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 themmore availability,” Llamas said.
Among the unanswered questions are explanations about how Samsung willget carrier support for its new mobile OS. Also unknown is how muchsupport Samsung will continue to give to the other platforms it nowprovides 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 developmentmarket,” Llamas said.
On Tuesday, Samsung opened a Web site dedicated to information aboutBada.
The platform’s third-party applications will be available through theSamsung Application Store. Samsung will release the Bada OS SDK inDecember. The company expects the first handset to arrive in thefirst half of 2010.