Samsung intros Bada mobile OS: Do we need It?

Samsung is introducing a mobile operating system called Bada it hopes will be competitive with Apple and Google's offerings.

Samsung introduced Bada, what the company calls a mobile platform for a new breed of its smartphones. But is there really a need for yet another mobile OS, next to the likes of Apple, Microsoft or Google?

Starting next year, Samsung said that it would introduce smartphones that will run its own OS, Bada, next to an application store, to better compete with now-popular mobile platforms from Apple and Google. Samsung, the world's largest cellphone maker by unit sales, is already selling smartphones running on Microsoft's and Google operating system.

Smartphones, and the operating systems they run, have become big business thanks to app stores, with Apple as a prime example. Although Samsung produces smartphones running both Windows Mobile or Android, the company doesn't get a cut of the sales made through the operating system's own store. However, Samsung plans to change that by introducing its own ecosystem of phones, operating system and app store, starting with Bada.

Bada, which means 'ocean' in Korean, (virtually) ticks all the boxes of a moneymaking ecosystem. Bada will basically be a software layer on top of Samsung's proprietary OS, and will allow for app development. Samsung hopes to attract developers to make applications for its Bada mobile store, in a similar way to Apple.

Smartphones represent less than 5 percent of Smasung's business, but they are the industry's fastest-growing and most profitable segment, hence why Samsung wants more involvement into this area. Most of Samsung's smartphones use Windows Mobile and the handset maker also launched one of the first Android-based phones, the highly regarded (yet generally unavailable in the U.S.) Galaxy model.

Arguably, Apple, Google and Research in motion are dominating the smartphone-OS-app store system, but figures show that smartphones will account for 16 percent of all cellphones this year -- meaning that there is plenty of space to grow for Samsung as well, next to the already 'big boys'.

However, Bada's faith will be sealed by the quality of the OS and how many developers will be willing to jump ship and create apps for Samsung. Details are sketchy at least now about Bada, and it is yet unknown whether Samsung will integrate the Bada store with its current European app store, launched in September.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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