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Samsung bada – the Perfect Storm?

by Stephen Entwistle | Dec 08, 2009

At the London “official” launch of Samsung’s new mobile operating system, bada (which means ocean in Korean), many questions remain unanswered regarding what bada is all about.

bada’s goal is “smartphones for everyone”, everywhere in the world, starting with 50 countries when the first handset is launched sometime during the first half of 2010, but extending to global coverage eventually.

Samsung’s first handset based on the bada platform will also be the first phone to run Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 user interface. The company has a desire to deliver a rich user experience to everyone. Although Samsung declined to comment on its strategy for other OSs including Symbian, Android, LiMo and Windows Mobile, we believe that bada has come about as a result of Samsung’s frustration with the user interface capabilities (or lack of) of Symbian over the last couple of years, forcing the handset OEM to develop its own solution.

Samsung declined to estimate the number of shipments it expects to achieve with bada during 2010, but said it is currently working with mobile network operators to estimate the likely demand for its first handset.

Full details of the hardware requirements for bada were not discussed during the announcement, but Thomas Richter, Director of Portfolio Management at Samsung, confirmed that the platform will support 3D graphics, multi-touch capacitive touchscreens, Flash, C++, HTML5, multiple sensors and many other hardware and software functions. Application developers will have access to some of the core phone functions such as the proximity sensor, weather sensor and call functions. Richter added that there will be an extensive developer site and developer support centres around the world. In the same way that Google drummed up support for its Android platform, Samsung is launching a developer competition for bada, with total prize money of US$2.7 million and a first prize of $300K for the winner of the best application. Developer days will be held in Seoul, London and San Francisco to begin with during 2010.

Samsung said it expects to ship a total of 40 million touchscreen phones during 2009 and “many more” during 2010. Estimates from other sources suggest that around 50% of Samsung’s portfolio in 2010 will consist of touchscreen phones and that the company may ship over 100 million touchscreen handsets during 2010.

Stuart Robinson

Follow me on Twitter: @Stuart_Robinson

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