COMMENT: Do we really need another mobile operating system? According to Samsung we do, which is why it is attempting to launch its new Bada OS.The only problem is that Samsung does not have a software culture, nor does it have the relationships that Apple, Microsoft and Sony have with developers, which are critical to any carrier going forward.
Bada is not about whether a phone will perform better, it’s all about dominance in the mobile application and hardware markets.
To date, Samsung mobile phones have struggled in the smartphone market up against slick offerings from Apple with its iPhone, and HTC with its Android-based Hero and Windows HD2.
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Even the Blackberry has outperformed Samsung in the smartphone market, which is why Samsung is attempting to deliver an operating system which it claims will work across mobiles, PCs and, in the future, TVs.
Bada means ocean in Korean and, at yesterday’s launch at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, the Korean company, which wants to dominate in all markets including TVs, PCs and mobile phones, spent millions trying to convince the world’s media that it should be taken as a serious competitor up alongside Google Android, Apple, Microsoft with its new Windows and OS offerings from Research In Motion, and Nokia with its Symbian operating system.
If Samsung genuinely believes that Bada is the way ahead, why doesn’t it do an Apple and put all its phones on one Bada operating system? It won’t, because there is a high probability it will fail.
Instead, Samsung is taking an each-way bet by continuing to manufacture Android- and Windows 7-Mobile based phones.
Since it was announced back in November 2009, Bada has been a bit of an enigma, with observers not knowing whether it is a full-blown operating system or simply a skin that is layered on top of an operating system.
Both Microsoft and Google with its Android have told HTC that they will no longer allow phone vendors to layer skins over their operating systems. They want to do what Apple has done in presenting a uniformed single look for their OSs.
Bada is middleware, which, according to Samsung, delivers such functions as integrated contacts, a unified inbox, a push calendar, and a focus on social networking. In addition, Samsung now offers its own app store and touts a simple and open platform that developers can take advantage of.
Really this sounds exactly like the new Windows 7 mobile offering or the new Android 2.2 from Google.
Locally Samsung is set to use its new Bada offering in an effort to become the #1 phone vendor in the market. Tyler McGee, Vice President, Telecommunications, Samsung Electronics Australia has admitted that Samsung is set to take an each-way bet in an effort to take on the likes of Apple Nokia and HTC.
He claims that an integral part of Samsung’s vision is to create a smartphone for every lifestyle by offering mobile phones that support Android, Windows Mobile and the new Samsung Bada operating system.
“Samsung will this year consolidate its industry-leading position as the mobile phone maker offering the greatest choice to consumers,” read the media release.
McGee claims that Samsung will have a wealth of applications, which is hard to accept when you look at what Apple is currently offering and what it is set to deliver with the launch of its new iPad, which will facilitate the delivery of hundreds of new applications.
The new Samsung Wave with the Bada OS incorporates a 3.3″ AMOLED display screen and a 1Ghz processor. This model will have to compete with Qualcomm’s 1.5Ghz offering due in the next few weeks, as well as a new iPhone, which is also tipped to have a 1.5Ghz processor.
The new Bada is akin to giving buying a Mercedes or Audi or BMW because there is a new kid on the block who claims that they are in the luxury car business and have a better offering.
What Samsung is going to have to do is earn its status in the smartphone market, and that is going to be hard up against a surging Apple and a determined Google and Microsoft, which between them are very good at delivering software that at the end of the day is the make-or-break difference between a good phone and a bad phone.
Apple has proved this time and time again, which is why Microsoft is tipping billions into its new mobile OS.