Samsung’s recent announcement that it’s throwing open the doors to its bada operating system to all comers points to a rosy future for apps outside of the much-hyped Apple App Store and Android Market. The latter two are well known thanks to the platforms they reside on, but Samsung evidently has big plans for bada, with the first phone packing the OS, the Samsung Wave, due to drop later this month.
bada appears to be following the same path as Android, largely thanks to the fact it won’t be shackled to just one handset, like the iPhone OS. Also, Samsung is said to be planning a number of budget bada phones, most likely in the mould of basic Android efforts such as the T-Mobile Pulse and HTC Tattoo. This would help to bring apps to the masses, something which Samsung clearly wishes to be at the vanguard of.
Indeed, Samsung isn’t messing about when it comes to getting bada spread far and wide. According to its official blog, the mobile operating system will be landing in a massive 75 countries this year. Of course, it will appear in high-end business handsets, but be under no illusion that this isn’t about penetrating as many emerging markets as is feasible. The South Korean mobile maker wants to spread the love to as many people as possible. And free apps on cool, but basic phones are the best way to do that.
Accusations have been leveled at Samsung that it is taking too long to get bada out into the market. But cast your mind back and you’ll remember Google adopted a similar approach to Android, taking it slowly and only truly getting into full mobile battle mode towards the end of last year when a slew of new handsets packing the OS emerged.
Only time will tell whether bada can rival Android as an operating system working in top-end smartphones and basic-but-ace touchscreen cells. But the signs are looking good. The Samsung Wave has garnered favourable early press and the chance to get similar apps to those from Android and the iPhone onto it will only make it more attractive. But the big hope is that bada can work in cheaper handsets, giving punters who don’t want to spend upwards of £35 a month access to the latest add-ons.
This of course raises questions about whether such phones should be available at a cut price. Samsung (and Google) clearly thinks so. It’s time to forget Apple and Google’s battle at the smartphone top table. Once basic bada blowers land, it’ll be Samsung and Google squaring up for the mass market and the app generation.