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All you need to know about BADA

August 16, 2010 4 comments

Not many people know that Bada (pronounced /ˈbɑːdɑː/ not as Bada-Chota in Hindi) is a proprietary  mobile operating system developed by Samsung Electronics. It is designed to cover both high-end smartphones and lower-end feature phones. Samsung claims that bada will rapidly replace its proprietary feature phone platform, converting  feature phones to smartphones. The name ‘bada‘ is derived from 바다, the Korean word for ocean or sea. And that is the reason ‘Samsung’ named their first Bada device as Wave. So we can say that Samsung has created a Wave in the Ocean(Bada). And if the figure are to be believed they have already successfully done that as Samsung announced 83% net profit rise year-on-year in the second quarter to $3.6bln.

Wave in the Ocean(BADA)

Samsung announced the bada platform on 10 November, 2009. After the launch, companies such as Twitter, EA, Capcom, Gameloft, and Blockbuster showed their support for the bada platform. After the announcement, Wave S8500 was first shown in Mobile World Congress 2010 in Spain in Feb 2010. At that time tens of applications running on the first bada phone were demonstrated such as Asphalt 5 by Gameloft.

Samsung started to release SDK for bada to attract individual developers. During May 2010, Samsung released bada SDK 1.0.0b2, followed by 1.0.0b3 released in late May, 2010. In addition, Samsung started the bada Developer Challenge with a total prize of $2,700,000 (USD).

The first bada-based phone was the Wave S8500, released on June 1, 2010, and in its first 4 weeks on the market shipped one million handsets.

Before I tell you people more about how the Wave is on High-tide, have a look at the official 4D launch event for the Wave.

At the release day of the Samsung Wave, Samsung opened an international application store, Samsung Apps, for the bada platform.

In July 2010, Samsung Apps had 300 applications to offer, 70% of them being free. Samsung expects to have 7000 applications in its application store by the end of 2010.

Features of BADA

Even though bada supports a wide range of devices, bada is powerful enough to turn your imagination into powerful applications. With high end devices such as Wave, bada fully utilizes the power of hardware for the ultimate application experience. Even with mid-range or cost-effective models, it also provides powerful features for better application experiences.

Features such as plenty of UI controls, Flash support, and sensor support help applications to be more interactive. Service-centric features such as in-app-purchasing, SNS integration, and push notification help applications to offer customers a richer, more interactive experience.

Architecture for the Geeks

BADA, as Samsung defines it, is not an operating system, but platform with a kernel configurable architecture, which allows the use of either proprietary Real-time operating system(RTOS) kernel, or the Linux kernel. According to copyrights displayed by Samsung Wave S8500, it’s based on BSD, not Linux.

On top of the kernel, there are Device, Service, and Framework Layers respectively. Device Layer provides core functions of a device such as graphics, protocols, telephony, security, etc. Service Layer provides more service-centric features such as SNS, map, in-app-purchasing, and so on. To provide such features, Samsung operates, so called, bada Server, behind the scene. The top layer, Framework Layer, provides Application Programming Interface in C++ language to developers.

bada provides various UI controls to developers: It provides assorted basic UI controls such as Listbox, Color Picker, Tab, etc. In addition, it has a web browser control based on the open-source WebKit, and also features Adobe Flash, supporting Flash 9. Both WebKit and Flash can be embedded inside native bada applications. bada offers interactive mapping withPoint of interest (POI) features, which can also be embedded inside native applications.It supports pinch-to-zoom, tabbed browsing, as well as cut, copy, and paste.

bada supports various mechanisms to enhance interaction: various sensors, such as motion sensing, vibration control, face detection, accelerometer, magnetometer, tilt, and GPS, which can be incorporated into applications,is one feature and multipoint-touch is also supported.

Native applications are developed in C++ with the bada SDK, and the Eclipse based IDE. GNU based tool chains are used for building and debugging applications. The IDE also contains UI Builder, with which developers can easily design the interface of their applications by dragging and dropping UI controls into forms. For testing and debugging the, IDE contains a simulator, where apps can be run.

What to worry about?

As every tide has a High-tide it has a Low-tide too. Even though the Samsung Wave has broken all sales record there are a few things that Samsung need to address and consumer need to know :-

  • Bada’s application store is closed, and users are prevented from downloading apps from other sources
  • The external sensor API is not open-ended, preventing new types of sensors or unexpected technology developments from being added in the future.
  • The Bada application cannot access SMS/MMS inbox or receive incoming SMS/MMS notification.
  • Bada application framework only allows one Bada application at a time. Multitasking is possible between the base applications stored in ROM and one Bada application.
  • Some have speculated that the market is too crowded to accept a new operating system.
  • This may sound a bit lame but Maybe Samsung should look closer at the Bada name because the first three letters indicate what kind of idea this is: B-A-D.

My take on BADA

Bada looks like a solid smartphone environment and the Wave device appears potent — the phone runs on a 1GHz chip with an 800×480 resolution AMOLED display and can record video in 720p high-definition. Based on specifications alone, the Wave competes well with the latest and greatest handsets on the market. But is that enough to compete against the ever growing Android Devices by almost all the OEM’s (Except Nokia). What I perceive here is that Samsung doesn’t want to get lost in the herd with other OEM’s who are rolling out Android phone’s one after the another. So the war is not just with other manufactures but internally also as Samsung itself has Galaxy S (Android Device) competing with Wave(Bada Device). In the end, Bada as on OS and Wave as handset is a bold step by Samsung to hold its own niche market of developers and consumers so it wont be a surprise for me if it goes on to be  a hit.

Few links that might be handy :