Samsung’s missed opportunity


Penned by Bala Yogesh (twitter.com/yo_bala)

Some where in Q3 last year, when smartphone OS market share was announced by Gartner, There were not many changes at the Top of the Table, but at the bottom, two new OSes were fighting for their own honor, we had Microsoft with their Windows 7 and Samsung with their Bada OS. Perhaps what surprised most people was the fact that Bada OS was actually ahead of Microsoft which had huge hopes and expectations on their own OS. And not many expected Samsung to get upper hand over  much hyped Windows Phone 7.

Some where in 2009 when Samsung announced Bada OS, few people realized the potential and moved away from Android  which had problems of its own, but then the initial target of Samsung was the first time buyers who had no prior smartphone and feature phone experience. Bada 1.0 was more of a feature phone OS and although it did not have enough features, the handset {Wave I} was very advanced and attracted lot of buyers. Few months down the line, Samsung announced Bada 1.1 for entry level handsets and it did not impress the critics yet according to samsung met its expectation. Things went a step ahead when wave II was launched with a bigger screen and Bada 1.2 which solved the few niggles that the 1.0 had. But then again it lacked some basic features that the smartphone OS should be having, So not many were fond of Bada.

Just when things began to calm down, Bada 2.0 was introduced with lots of features including multitasking, NFC and so on. And this time, it managed to impress the critics and thus marked the entry of Bada into smartphone league. WAVE III with improved hardware and with Bada 2.0 was announced and the Bada world was awaiting eagerly for their handsets to be upgraded.

This is when things went out of the shape for Samsung. First it was said that India was one of the few countries where Bada had success and so Bada 2.0 was supposed to be launched here first at least few days ahead of other countries and that the target date was scheduled for July-August of 2011, When the deadline did come, Samsung issued further statement mentioning that the launch would happen in Europe first and the update would be pushed gradually across the Globe. As there were no signs of the launch, Some where in the middle of August, There was rumors that the launch would happen in September/October and that Bada 2.0 is nearing the completion as people awaited patiently for their handsets to be upgraded. Samsung issued a final statement saying that the handsets would be upgraded in Q4,2011 and that all the handsets excluding wave 523 and wave 725 would be upgraded to Bada 2.0 although the features might differ according to the hardware of the phones.

Dejected at first, this brought some smiles to the Bada world and were hoping for the best. Around December rumors were at peak that Bada 2.0 is 100% finished and that developers were already working on Bada 3.0 {This was later on confirmed by Justin Hong in his tweet}. December came and gone, the update never actually happened. The impatient ones flashed their mobiles to the custom ROMs of Bada 2.0 while others moved to other platforms.

Few days into January, Bada 2.0 is officially available in Poland.{ So we can say Samsung kept their promise of releasing the version 2.0 as per their schedule :p} But as the things are still gloom as few countries like Italy and Spain they have issued statements that the release of Bada 2.0 is pushed back and that it will be upgraded only in the month of March. The reasons for the delay is unknown. As the developers have mentioned in their tweet that they started their framework on Bada 3.0 and that Bada 2.0 is done. So is the problem something to do with carriers..?

What ever the reason for the delay, it can be said that Samsung has missed a nice opportunity. An opportunity of sort where it could have attracted lots of potential buyers and could have expanded market share. {I say this because WAVE 3 is available only at limited places} As people have found a new love on Windows 7.5 with the live tiles, it offered something new to the Bada world as people online have been suggesting it is a best option to move to or go with the biggies as Android is now available at all price points.

Windows 7.5 {aka Mango} update is highly hyped and boasts of over 500 improvements, I am not going to go into each of their features as we know what it is about but rather some of their major drawbacks that has put people into real jeopardy. One has to connect to Zune to transfer meida and other data, making Windows Phone an extremely closed ecosystem. While on Bada you can do without the Kies or even if you do with the kies, it is not that kind of problem. The Zune player on your windows phone is not as easy to use  as the default player of Bada OS and in case of Bada 2.0 you can classify it as you like, either listen to your favorite artists, your favorite genres or you can customize it and in Zune player you can do this but one has to go the hard way around. Either you want to play HD video or a random song at your like, Bada certainly wins it cleanly while you got to come to terms with Zune.

Multitasking..? Bada 1.0 had serious issues as it was not really a made with multitasking in mind, In short it would allow one general app along with one native app as multitasking but from 2.0 all the restrictions are lifted, and now multitasking is really a breeze in Bada, while on Windows it will be restricted to 5 recent apps and what more on selecting an app you really have to wait for it to resume which is better then fresh start but again bad for user experience as in terms of multitasking you would be expecting to start off from where you left and here Bada again scores a crucial point as the apps are not limited to 1 or 5 and you can go back to where you left off which means it will be in the likes of Android and iOS

At the end of the day, I am not saying Bada is better OS than Mango. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. And the fact that whatever niggles are there in Mango, they can be sorted out through software updates. But at the moment they aren’t and thats the problem. Because at the end of the day, its these few niggles that will make you love the phone or hate it. If Samsung has launched Bada 2.0 which is simple to use and has covered all the basics needs of ones use, It would have strike the chord with the public and the matter of fact that it could have extended its lead over Microsoft and that would have been a huge thing for a company such as Samsung which even is in discussions of making Bada a Open source OS.

But one has to say, Samsung has certainly missed the chance whatsoever it had. Now that Mango is present in more than double the handsets of Bada, things are not looking bright for Samsung and they are to be blamed for this missed opportunity as now they will join the league of great team who has come with great promise but failed to implement{ Hell Yeah, I am talking WebOS, Meego and what not!!!}

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3 thoughts on “Samsung’s missed opportunity

    • what about revenues generated from appstores etc? with Android, samsung gets revenue from h/w sales, not from appstore. With Bada, they will get everything. Revenue from appstore, music store (if they start one) etc.

  1. @Deepak.. well samsung is growing…no doubt with that but bada is supposed to be their own blood and if they had got their right, it would have been a diff story all together..

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