Samsung doesn’t appear quite ready to go it alone in the mobile world, but in the wake of Google’s Motorola (NYSE: MMI) buy it seems the company is determined to take control of its own destiny. Expect to hear a lot about Bada, Samsung’s homegrown mobile operating system, over the next year as it reportedly gears up to open the OS up to third-party developers.
If you’re wondering what Bada is, you probably live in the U.S. Samsung has launched a series of Wave phones running the Bada operating system in Europe and Asia but has yet to release models compatible with 3G networks used in the U.S. The phones aren’t selling nearly as well as Samsung’s Android efforts, however, and tend to be lower-end models.
But it seems Samsung would like to raise Bada’s profile among the software-development community, with a report from the Wall Street Journal Tuesday indicating that Samsung wants to open-source Bada next year in hopes of attracting more developers to the platform. Whether or not the mobile app developers of the world have time for another mobile operating system remains to be seen, yet Samsung probably feels it has no choice but to forge an independent software path after the patent-related squabbles of 2011.
Samsung’s embrace of Android has been quite successful and quite painful at the same time. The company is selling millions of Android handsets around the world, but has faced numerous legal challenges from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) over its Android implementations. And Google’s solution to its mobile patent problem was to buy one of Samsung’s main competitors, instantly throwing Google’s relationship with its Android partners into a weird limbo until the deal is approved and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) puts its plans for Motorola into place.
Google has pledged to operate Motorola at an arm’s length, but it’s really hard to understand how that would work in the real world. That means Android partners have to go with the “trust, but verify” strategy when it comes to their mobile software future: it makes no sense to throw away years of investment in Android yet it would probably be a good idea to develop a contingency plan.
According to the report, Samsung isn’t expected to put this strategy into place until next year, by when we should know whether or not Google’s acquisition of Motorola has been approved.