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Samsung Unveils Open Source bada Mobile OS

Gordon Kelly by

Samsung Unveils Open Source bada Mobile OS

Samsung has talked some more about its bada smartphone OS and, you know what? I still don't get it...

Today the company 'unveiled the platform to the world' without actually showing anyone what it will look like. Instead Samsung announced the bada SDK (software developers' kit) is now available for partners around the world (except it isn't, the link is still a holding page - update: it's live now).

So without seeing it, let alone seeing it in action, what did we learn? The positive news is every bada phone will be touchscreen and offering multi-touch interaction. It will be heavily Cloud based with device content management and synchronisation supported by back-end bada servers and it will be open source to give developers greater freedom.

Samsung is also promoting the 'bada Developer Challenge' to kick-start support with a $2.7m prize fun over to the best apps. Meanwhile Twitter, Blockbuster, Capcom, EA Mobile and Gameloft have all signed on develop for the platform, though most already develop for nearly every platform already.

The bad? Again, I just don't get it. For starters Samsung has said it is modelling the homescreen on that of the i900 TouchWiz UI (pictured) and TouchWiz is one of the most underwhelming mobile UIs on the market. Furthermore, I can't see how it will ever become popular since, open source or not, Samsung is a rival to other handset makers so the likes of Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, etc are never likely to adopt it. The same problem is true of the Vodafone 360 platform which will not even be accepted by other networks.

Symbian, Microsoft and Google have all been successful because they haven't (yet) competed directly in the handset hardware space and even if they did, it would likely be a single model or range. Samsung is a direct threat to its smartphone rivals will innumerable phones so its success would fuel their demise.

Hopefully we'll get something substantial on bada soon (screenshots would be nice), but until then I repeat: I just don't get it...


Samsung bada Developer Site

Go to comments


December 8, 2009, 11:56 pm

I wonder what the default search engine will be? Bing!

Finally, mediocre features and UI are not acceptable thanks to the likes of Google and Apple in the mobile space. I just hope Nokia and their ilk spend the same time and investment in hardware.


December 9, 2009, 1:36 am

Still think Android and Symbian 2011 will be better.

Don't trust Samsung one bit when it comes to software development, they can barely make their TVs work properly without stuttering...


December 9, 2009, 7:32 am

didn't take long for some clown to mention 'bing'

samsung along with their 'me too' korean brother LG do well as it is in marketing their wares to the easily impressed with their half-baked features wrapped in whatever garish styles the flavour of the month. So i dont expect their users to care as theyll have another head-fuck of a phone to contend with 12 to 18 months later


December 9, 2009, 3:27 pm

Honestly? Bada sounds like a BAd iDeA.

Cloud based is often a replacement word for underpowered devices. :(

Touchscreen driven... Pardon my ignorance, but why is a fully touch phone such a 'good' one? I went with SE's Xperia X1 over Nokia's N97 (which I've been regretting since WinMo is far more fiddly and irritating than S60, and the keyboard is superior on the N97's side) due to the abundance of hardware controls.

And being that effectively Nokia IS Symbian (Keyword : Effectively), for Samsung has more or less abandoned their S60 phones and SE seems to be following Nokia's trend of dysfunctional initial software revisions, although SE takes the cake in terms of software screw-ups.


December 9, 2009, 9:43 pm

ffrankmccaffery: Somehow I get the impression that you are not a big Samsung fan. Personally I have found some of Samsung's handsets to be excellent, being well built and offering a lot more for the money than rivals. Admittedly their UIs are often not as well implemented as others, but then other manufacturers are not without fault either - Sony Ericsson continue to inflict proprietary everything on us, and as for phones for the "easily impressed", Apple have that one covered. I'm not sure what you have against the Koreans.

Having said that, I fail to see what makes Samsung think we need YET ANOTHER mobile OS, or that they are capable of making one that can be compared favourably with Android or even Symbian. And "Bada Bing" may have been a joke, but it's the most sensible explanation I've heard yet for giving it such a bad name.


December 9, 2009, 11:24 pm


Symbian OS is now under the stewardship of Symbian Foundation, a none-profit organisation not controlled by any of the major manufacturers.

I do agree that full touchscreen phone isn't a good thing. I rather have a none-touchscreen phone than a touchscreen only phone.


December 10, 2009, 1:43 pm


I know - but right now Nokia is still pretty much Symbian - Symbian^1 is S60 5th Ed, after all. And being that Nokia produces most of the Symbian phones, it surely does have considerable weight in the decision making process, since Samsung seems to be wanting an exit from Symbian, and SE has currently screwed up it's first S60 5th Ed phone's launch UI so terribly that some companies stopped sales...


December 10, 2009, 9:34 pm

What is wrong with the software division at Samsung? Like someone said, they tend to make capable hardware, (D600 is still probably one of my favourite phones) but the UI implementation has generally been their Achilles heel. I can't say I've been bowled over by their Windows/Android phones and it seems the Vodafone 360 is a very small niche market at best. Needs a major re-think and probably need to give it to a third party OS they can agree on and stick with it. Hasn't done HTC any harm and is has certainly got me interested in their handsets in the future.

In case anyone asks, I have the S8300 which somewhat proves my point. :P


December 11, 2009, 4:27 pm

@MrGodfrey: so you don't argue with my contention that Samsung and LG have poor user interfaces? and instead ramble on about build qualities and inputs - issues that i don't contend with. And when does criticizing a company extend to criticizing an entire nation? I mean after all your the one who's criticizing Samsung for choosing a name from their native Korean.


December 11, 2009, 7:48 pm

If anybody needs proof that LG needs to fire the lot at the software department, handle an LG Arena, and tell me if the interface doesn't make you want to scream. I didn't puke, but I wanted it off my hands 1 hour after I turned the damned thing on.

And as for Samsung, their true area of calling is in cheap feature phones - an area they're doing well in. However Nokia is THE behemoth in that area, so it'd be more interesting if Samsung devoted more to the feature phone section, instead of Bada.

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