Samsung Electronics will unveil its new open mobile platform, Bada, next month. Samsung seems to be following a trend of OSs that is “open” yet proprietary. The name “Bada” is Korean for “ocean.” The name was chosen “to convey the limitless variety of potential applications that can be created using the new platform,” according to the company’s statement. Market research firm In-Stat believes the name is ironically appropriate as it highlights the almost limitless variety of mobile OSs as Bada joins Symbian, Android, Maemo, LiMo, WebOS, Windows Mobile, RIM, OSX, and Moblin to name a few.
“Anything but Symbian” might have been another appropriate name as that seems to be the message coming from the major handset vendors, but “anything but Symbian” does not have the simplicity of the Bada moniker.
In-Stat believes the stakes are high. Gone are the days when the basis of competition was solely defined by hardware. The software is becoming the key in determining the user experience. Even within the software stack, however, the focus is shifting from the OS to the software and even more importantly, the applications. In fact, the new focus on enabling third party applications places very high stakes on these new OSs. If the growing army of professional and amateur software developers develop or port applications to a particular OS, the success of the handset platform and opportunity for the carrier could be high. If, however, a particular OS does not garner support from developers, then the result could be disastrous. So, is it a good idea to be introducing a new smartphone OS given the dominant position of Symbian or the momentum behind Android? In-Stat does not believe that it is a good move at this time unless you can offer a compelling solution to the software developer, the carrier and the consumer.
“The momentum of alternative OSs is unmistakable and will continue to cut away at Symbian’s market share,” says In-Stat Vice President of Mobile research, Frank Dickson. “While it is difficult to forecast the future of new entrants like Bada, the market might of Samsung will give Bada life. In the short term, Android seems to have the strong momentum. 2010 will be the year of Android.”
Please see In-Stat’s recent research, Worldwide Smartphones (#IN0904440WH), for more insights on mobile OSs including:
- Examination of smartphone operating systems, touch screens, applications, image sensors, and wireless connectivity options
- Forecasts of unit sales by OS and for smartphones with touch screens, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and accelerometers through 2014
- Examination of smartphone components and bill of materials
- Analysis of the smartphone OS market and developments in component and feature technology