Samsung recently introduced its own brand new mobile phone Operating System (OS) called Bada. Just like Google's Android OS, it's an open platform that other developers can choose to use if they so wish, though how many companies take Samsung up on this remains to be seen. It's a fully capable modern touchscreen OS so could yet turn out to be a major competitor. We've already reviewed the first handset that used the OS, the Samsung Wave, but today we're going to take a bit more of an in-depth look at what the new OS has to offer.
Press a button to activate the phone's screen and Bada starts you off with a very familiar lock screen showing the date and time. Swipe your finger across the screen to unlock it and you're presented with the main home screen.
As with most modern touchscreen phones, you get an array of sliding desktops where you can drop widgets. However, you can't actually add shortcuts to apps, webpages, and other items like you get on Android or iOS. Instead you must open the main menu to access these, and even here you can only access apps - there simply isn't any provision for web shortcuts. As an extension of this you can't make folders either. You can at least arrange the menu icons in whatever way you want, and there are multiple side-sliding pages of them, so you can still have your favourite apps close to hand.
As well as being restricted to only widgets on the home screen, the widgets themselves leave rather a lot to be desired. In particular, while you can get BBC iPlayer, a music store, a Financial Times feed, and a birthday reminder, there's no music player, picture viewer, or basic clock/calendar. We assume the number of available widgets will grow in time, though.
The general control layout, at least on the Samsung Wave, has a screen lock button on the side then three further buttons on the front. The left most of these is the call button, the right is call end/exit app, while the central button brings up the main menu. The latter also doubles for multi-tasking: hold it down for a second or so and it pops up a list of the apps you have running. This works quite well, but it's certainly not perfect.
The main problem is that to make an app suspend itself (rather than close) you have to press the menu button, which then brings up the menu ready for you to start another app. However, habit constantly makes you press the call end button to close the app – because this takes you to the desktop – but if you do this it does actually close the app. This may sound like a very minor complaint and something that you'd get used to but in the couple of weeks that we had the Samsung Wave we never got the hang of it and still kept on getting caught out.
As with Android, Bada has a drop down menu at the top of the home screen. This provides quick access for turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off and changing the phone's profile as well as showing any notifications.