In a move apparently intended to lessen its dependence on Google’s Android platform, Samsung Electronics is planning to bring out its homegrown Bada operating system into the open for the whole world to tinker with and improve on, industry sources told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) this week.
According to WSJ sources, Samsung plans to release Bada as an opensource platform next year. Sources also said that opensourcing the Bada platform will allow Samsung to expand the platform’s reach beyond smartphones and tablets. Samsung plans to use the Bada platform more widely especially for smart TVs, which are TV sets with computer-like functionality.
Releasing the Bada operating system under opensource licenses will enable programmers from all over the world to contribute code and improvements to the Bada platform and will allow other manufacturers to modify the operating system for their own devices.
After Google announced last August its plans to scoop up Motorola Holdings, device manufacturers such as Samsung have started feeling uncomfortable about possible repercussions of the marriage between Android’s creator and a handset manufacturer. Analysts have speculated that Google’s acquisition of Motorola may place the latter’s handsets higher on Google’s priority list for Android updates and support.
Some analysts, however, remain skeptical about Samsung’s plan. Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston, for instance, notes that hardware-vendor-controlled software platforms previously proprietary and later on released as opensource platforms historically did not earn much traction. He cites Symbian as a good example.
If Samsung goes ahead with opensourcing Bada and slowly switching over from Android for its future devices, it could place itself in front of Google, Android, and Motorola as a direct competitor.
The South Korean government also plans to launch a collaborative project that brings South Korean manufacturers (e.g., Samsung and LG) together to produce an opensource mobile operating system and a Web-based operating system. The project is expected to launch before end of the year and is intended by the South Korean government to help ensure that South Korean device manufacturers could keep their competitiveness against other international device makers.
What do you think of a Bada-powered Samsung Galaxy S II (or its successors)?