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Summary:

Samsung has used Google Android to propel it to the no. 2 smartphone sales spot, but there’s definitely a plan B, as in Bada. The company debuted a trio of Bada 2.0 smartphones that offer many Android features, which could boost sales for Samsung’s proprietary platform.

samsung-wave-featured

Samsung introduced three new smartphones on Tuesday that run on the company’s proprietary Bada platform. The Samsung Wave 3, M and Y all use a new version of the platform Bada 2.0, which looks similar to Samsung’s customization of Google Android. The phones themselves evoke images of Samsung’s most successful handset, the Galaxy S II, although two of the three are targeted at the first-time smartphone buyer and have relatively limited hardware specifications.

A quick look at the new phones shows a capable lineup in both the low- to mid-range market as well as the high-end segment. All three models share Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, Music and Social Hub, Samsung Apps and the new ChatON messaging service that was announced Monday. It’s almost ironic how the new Bada handsets appear similar to Samsung’s existing Android phones: At a time where Samsung is accused of copying the look-and-feel of Apple’s products, Samsung is almost copying itself. At a quick glance, these look just like their Android counterparts to me.

 

The Wave M and Y both run on 832 MHz processors, support 7.2 Mbps HSPA 3G networks, and use low-resolution 320×480 touchscreen displays of 3.65- and 3.2-inches respectively. The pair have limited on-board storage, but can be expanded to 32 GB through the microSD card slot. The Wave M has both a 5-megapixel rear camera and a VGA sensor in the front while the Wave Y only has a 2-megapixel rear camera; both have a GPS, optional NFC support, Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi Direct for sharing content wirelessly.

On the high end, the Wave 3 sounds like a “Galaxy S II Jr.,” or a Bada version of last year’s Samsung Galaxy S with similar features. The handset uses a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with 800×480 resolution, 1.4 GHz processor, 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera with 720p video capture, VGA front camera, 3 GB of internal storage, microSD slot, aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and support for 14.4 Mbps 3G networks.

An official Samsung video shows off the new hardware with a heavy focus on the Bada 2.0 platform. Based on my viewing, Bada’s feature set is now rivaling that of Android in many ways and could appeal to some who were considering a Google-powered phone.

The new Bada handsets and software signal a clever strategy from Samsung, which debuted the first iteration of Bada in Feb. 2010. Instead of solely relying on Google Android to help propel Samsung to the No. 2 smartphone seller in the world, the company continues to invest in its own proprietary mobile platform and ecosystem. So far, the strategy is working well: Aside from selling 5 million Android-powered Galaxy S II phones in 85 days, Samsung’s Bada line outsold that of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 in the first quarter of this year.

While Samsung is making a name for itself using Android, it’s steadily building up a user base for its own mobile platform, something no other smartphone maker has done yet in the face of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems. That doesn’t imply that Samsung will eventually abandon Google’s platform, especially if the Android-powered handsets continue to sell well. But it reduces the risk of relying on Android in the future. Samsung has already done this through diversification to a point: The company also makes smartphones that run on Windows Phone 7.

Diversification through the platforms of others is only part of Samsung’s strategy, however. By continuing to improve Bada, build support for apps that run on it and creating a media ecosystem of its own, Samsung is positioning itself to create smartphone sales through an in-house platform. And as Apple has shown over the past several years, that’s a roadmap towards growth in market share and profitability.

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  1. Do these phones have the headset jacks? Do they have the ability to use ringtones that are self-made? Can a different ringtone be used for each contact?

    Matt Riggs – GFY.

    1. Kevin C. Tofel don Tuesday, August 30, 2011

      Yes, all three handsets have headset jacks, but I can’t speak to the ringtone functionality as I haven’t yet used one of the devices.

    2. Yes, self-made ringtones can be used in bada.

  2. So, is there a market for a 4th smartphone OS… I have my doubts. Look at WebOS.

    1. Just being in the game (as webOS was) obviously isn’t enough. There’s a huge difference between webOS and Bada phones IMO: Samsung is delivering Bada devices while webOS phone launches were delayed or never materialized from either Palm or HP. Samsung appears to be growing Bada sales at a rate faster than Microsoft and RIM, which tells me it has legs, or at least potential. Bada may never challenge for more than a quarter of smartphone market share, but it’s looking like a nice plan B for Samsung. The company is weaning customers off of feature phones with Bada and is now starting to move it upstream to the higher end as well.

      1. now all it needs it to get more apps to entice more people to buy these phones (wikipedia says they have about 3000). That will entice more developers to write more apps. That will mean more people will buy this phones because of more apps.
        Hmm… I (and maybe Samsung) seem to be missing something in above logic..

        1. I’m not sure that 3,000 app number is accurate; there’s no citation in the Wikipedia entry to source the 3000 apps. I did see a Samsung press release last month saying that the Samsung Apps store has over 25,000 apps and hit 100m downloads: http://www.samsungapps.com/notice/getNoticeDetail.as?csNoticeID=0000000561 The tricky part is: although Samsung Apps was initially developed for Bada phones, it later added Android apps and software for other Samsung devices (televisions, for example), so it’s hard to say how many apps are specific to Bada. Also in July of this year, Samsung said it has sold 10m Bada phones, which isn’t half bad for an upstart, in-house platform that debuted about 1.5 years ago.

      2. I think the last numbers given for Bada/Android/iPhone was 13k/100k/300k respectively. I think that Bada will take some market share, but not significant. The target audience for these phones are most likely moving away from feature phones, but why would you want to go Bada with such a limited set of applications unless you don’t understand the market for smartphones or was incentivized to get one.

  3. What happens if Apple sues Samsung on these Bada phones as well? This time they don’t even have Google’s backing for support.

  4. I think the title should have been ” Step aside WP7 samsung debuts bada 2.0 handsets”

    Why?

    Because with android and now bada being taken more mainstream by samsung,i doubt it will have the same interest in making wp7 handsets.

    One company making handsets running on three different OSes??Dont think so.

  5. Throwing junk on the wall to see what sticks? I think so. I fail to see the fascination with constantly reinventing the wheel. Why not just smooth out the rough edges on the one we have? Yes, yes, its a differentiator for them. The problem is that most differentiators tend to be simultaneously too different in some ways and not different enough in others.

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