Bada bing Bada boom

bada-logo1Korean handset vendor Samsung planted a proprietary flag in the OS wars on Tuesday as it took the wraps off its Bada platform (first announced a month previously) at a glitzy event on London’s South Bank.

While much was made of Bada’s status as a “new mobile platform for smartphones,” – to quote Samsung Electronics’ European president S.H. Shin – it is not actually a brand new operating system. Rather it is based on the existing Samsung proprietary OS and features an access layer on top that allows the vendor to open it up to a developer community that it is in the throes of building.

Samsung is careful to involve itself in a variety of top-tier smartphone OS community projects but the firm clearly believes that collaboration will not bring the smartphones to the mass market with sufficient alacrity, or at a cost point that will allow them to be bought by a wide audience. Bada, then, will “extend the smartphone experience to average users on mainstream devices,” said Thomas Richter, director of portfolio management, Samsung Telecommunications Europe.

That experience will be touchscreen based, Richter said, describing the touch interface as “the main focus of our mobile strategy”. He said that Samsung will have sold more than 40 million touch screen devices by the end of 2009, and predicted that the first Bada device will be available in the first half of 2010, when Samsung will be concentrating on “high performance and massive volumes” for its new device range.

Samsung said that, essentially, there is nothing new in the Bada proposition. An existing operating system, UI technology and industrial design expertise are the three prongs of the Bada trident – but they will not be effective without a thriving community of capable developers. The firm said that it will drive developer interest through cash prizes as well as events held in Seoul, London and San Francisco but whether or not this will be enough remains to be seen.

Samsung had some content partners on hand to weigh in with a few scripted plaudits, and these included Twitter, EA Mobile, Capcon, Gameloft and, oddly, onetime video rental market leader Blockbuster.

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