Samsung Initiates the Android Rebellion: Bada Becomes Open Source

by Matt Klassen on September 21, 2011

Last week I revisited the long-standing controversy surrounding Google, its open source Android mobile operating system, and its recent acquisition of Motorola. I speculated that Android partners would soon become disenchanted with Android; a dissatisfaction wrought from the lure of the money that these Android licensees could be making with their own operating systems combined with the fear that they’ll be Android’s ugly step-children once Motorola enters Google’s fold.

While I went on to say that it could be years before we see this Android rebellion come to fruition, we may very well look back at today as being the day it all began. In an effort to reduce its dependence on Google’s OS, popular Android partner Samsung has publicly announced its intention to commit more resources to its existing Bada platform.

For its part, Bada has had little market infiltration since its release back in 2009, an issue that drove Samsung into Android’s loving robotic arms in the first place, but it looks like Samsung has learned a thing or two from Google, it’s planning on making Bada an open source multiplatform OS.

I have no doubt that some of you scoff at the notion that Samsung could mount any sort of challenge to Android with its paltry Bada platform. It boasts a relatively miniscule number of apps, it has few developers interested in designed anything new for the platform, and it has zero market presence in most of the world.

But perhaps this could all change soon, as according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the situation, “Samsung ‘is planning to make Bada software an open source platform next year’”

So how will opening up its Bada OS help Samsung? As the world’s largest Technology Company by revenue, Samsung clearly has its strengths, which lie mostly in the area of hardware development. Unfortunately as we’ve seen over the past few years, Samsung has struggled with the software side of things, never being able to successfully launch its own Bada and utilizing Google’s Android OS for most of its success. 

Much like Google however, who entered the mobile arena with Android having little experience creating devices or operating systems, opening up Bada will allow Samsung to reap the benefits of having qualified software engineers outside the company adapt and modify its source code, ultimately creating a better mobile OS than Samsung ever could alone. It is this move, of course, that could attract more developers and thus increase the overall attraction of Samsung’s in-house mobile operating system.

In order to achieve any success, though, Samsung will have to do something with Bada that it hasn’t been able to do yet, infiltrate the American mobile market. Currently Samsung utilizes Bada in its lower end phones in several Asian and European markets, much like how Nokia has used Symbian.

If the Korean tech company has one ace in the hole that could turn Bada’s Symbian-like funeral dirge into a success story, however, it’s that Samsung has its entire hardware line to draw on, meaning that it could grow its Bada brand here in North America by turning it into a multiplatform OS, installing it in TVs and other Samsung devices.

In the end, while I’m making no promises about the long term success of Samsung’s Bada platform, one thing is clear…the Android rebellion has begun.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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