Samsung Unveils Another Smartphone Operating System

Carl Weinschenk

As this Linux Insider piece points out, there are as many questions about the new bada operating system from Samsung as answers.


The story answers one of the questions-bada is the Korean word for ocean-but only poses the others. They include the prudence of introducing still another smartphone OS to compete with the likes of Android, LiMO, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry and WebOS; whether carriers will be interested; and how aggressively Samsung will support the other OSes in its phones. The company says the bada software developers kit will be released next month and the initial handsets will become available during the first half of next year.

On Tuesday, I posted on the increasingly real-time nature of the Internet. That's in part due to the growth of smartphones and, in particular, the iPhone. IDC tracks the growth in smartphones, and does a good job of painting the picture of the landscape into which the bada will try to establish itself. The firm says 43.3 million devices shipped during the third quarter, a 4.2 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. The market leader is Nokia, with 37.9 percent of the market. RIM's BlackBerry claimed 19 percent, and Apple's market share rose from 16.6 percent to 17.1 percent. While it didn't provide a number, the firm said Android "is poised to reach critical mass." Gartner's smartphone numbers, which were released today, tell much the same story.

One thing is for certain: This is not the PC business, where the landscape for decades has begun and ended with Microsoft's domination. The New York Times outlines where the company is. The story is narrow, dealing only with the threat to posed by Android. The story says Windows Mobile operating systems carry a $15 to $25 per phone fee to manufacturers. That, the story points out, is $15 to $25 more than Android. The current OSes, Windows Mobile 6 and its 6.5 update -- which was not considered major-are antiquated, the story says. The writer tracks Android's impressive progress, and notes that no release date for Windows Mobile 7 has yet been set.

Microsoft is not the kind of company that will cede a growing business to competitors. Indeed, the release process for Windows Mobile 7 may be well under way. This Seattle PI story refers to a ZDNet Taiwan report that suggests that Microsoft is closing in on an update of its smartphone OS. The report says Windows Mobile 7 could be set for testing during the first quarter of next year. "WinMo7," the piece says, will offer higher level "capacitive" touch screens that allow finger pinching and flipping control. WinMo7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 will both be supported.


It's not news that the smartphone segment is where the action is in mobility. Samsung, by introducing the bada OS, has made the sector even more interesting.

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