Samsung Unveils Bada, Sort of

Samsung has finally lifted the veil a bit on its new mobile platform, Bada. While some of us were expecting a whole new mobile operating system (perhaps built on Linux), reality is a little different: Bada is actually a platform (APIs, programming tools, etc.) which can run on top of different mobile operating systems.

The unveiling of Bada by Samsung still leaves a whole lot of questions unanswered, and I must admit that I’m still not entirely sure what, exactly, it is. As far as I see it now, it’s a set of APIs and developer tools that gives developers an “an easy-to-integrate platform” so they can create “an ocean of endless enjoyment”. It has a strong focus on social networking, and supports user interfaces written in Flash, too – an example of which actually looked pretty impressive.

Bada will initially run on Samsung’s proprietary SHP (Samsung Handset Platform) paired with Samsung’s upcoming TouchWiz 3.0 user interface. It will be entirely multitouch, supporting both resistive and capacitive touch screens. Hardware-wise, it’s chip-agnostic, and Samsung aims for the cheapest Bada handsets to be cheaper than the cheapest Android ones. It won’t run on older phones, however, and the first Bada handset will arrive somewhere in the first half of 2010.

Samsung has a vision of “Smartphone for everyone”, and by offering cheap Bada handsets as well as expensive ones, combined with a focus on in-app purchasing, Samsung hopes to entice developers with greater profits.

Most surprisingly, Samsung has already managed to jump into bed with five serious partners: Twitter, Capcom, EA, Gameloft, and Blockbuster. Capcom showed off a new Resident Evil game running on the Bada platform which actually looked pretty impressive. Blockbuster’s CIO Neil Davis even promised that you could start a BluRay film at home, pause it, and then finish the movie from where you left off on your Bada phone (ding ding ding!), but Samsung’s Younghee Lee wasn’t as optimistic as that.

Bada will obviously have a chance of succeeding, for the simple reason that Samsung is a big player on the mobile market – here in The Netherlands at least, you can’t take two steps without running into someone with a Samsung phone. Time will tell if Bada is actually any good.

Samsung has opened the Bada developers portal, and an SDK with an emulator and code samples should be available soon.


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