1. Making smartphones open to all
Samsung's announcement of Bada might be confusing to some people, but the firm has a clear message – it wants to make the smartphone accessible to everyone.
In a chart shown at the media launch, Samsung pointed to the growing (but still small) smartphone market and said: we want more of that.
To that end, it's looking at turning half of all mobile users into smartphone owners, and Bada seems to be a big part of that. The definition of a 'smartphone' is still a little tricky, and Bada definitely raises that debate again – does an application store, hardware acceleration and multi-touch support make a normal mobile a smartphone? If it does, then Bada is just that.
2. Taking on the big players
Another constantly asked question about Bada is simple – what on earth is it? An OS? A user interface? Well, it's mostly the former, although Samsung is being tight lipped over defining it exactly. However, Justin Hong, President of engineering for the Bada platform, did say that it could be compared to Android in that it's (partly) built on a Linux kernel, and that's good enough for us.
So what does that mean in competitive terms? Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux Mobile are all already supported by Samsung, and this seems another direction to worry about.
Well, it is and it isn't. Samsung told TechRadar that Bada is taking its proprietary UI, used in its high end feature phones like the Jet, and making it smart, by adding things like an application store and multi-touch support as standard.
The idea is by making it proprietary to Samsung phones (the company says there are 'no detailed plans at the moment' to license Bada out) the company can market it globally, make it cheaper to use (with those costs passed onto the phone SRP) and can tune the user experience in its own image without having to use a third party OS.
And Hong made the biggest statement of differentiation of all: "The lowest cost range of Bada is going to be lower than the lowest point of Android."
3. All about the applications
As you might have noticed, this is all about the applications, and that's something Samsung is hammering with this release.
Well, it's making a big deal about the fact they are there, but beyond that there's not a lot of information. Developers can code applications in Flash, C++ or Web Runtime, as well as Java if they so wish as that's supported too.
The applications will also be able to integrate into the TouchWiz widget-based home screen, meaning if you wanted an expandable box to show basic information without opening the whole application, that's possible.
4. Smarter than smartphones?
When the Jet was announced, the tagline was 'smarter than smartphones', highlighting how the key smartphone features have been potted down into a feature phone in Samsung's (then) latest and greatest.
However, Bada takes that notion one step further, by bringing the humble feature phone into the smartphone arena. API's for mapping applications are offered up, meaning developers can integrate social networking.
It's telling that the Jet was based on an earlier version of Bada from Samsung's proprietary SHP OS, which was used for several years – it makes the line between feature phone and smartphone even more fluid, if simply adding some bits to an existing framework can make the difference.
But it means that while the home screen will look the same, the experience will be a lot more powerful – Samsung told TechRadar that it will be setting a lower processor limit in order to run Bada.
5. Touchy feely
Bada is an exclusively touch platform, according to Hong, but one that also features multi-point touch.
For some reason Samsung is keen to point out that Bada isn't multi touch, it's multi-POINT touch... whether this is for some legal reason or just a desire to be different, we don't know.
But the weird thing is that it's only supported, rather than being used throughout – this means the home screen will still be single point touch like before, but the applications (Hong pointed to games) will be able to use this capability.
Another interesting snippet – Samsung believes it can use multi point touch on resistive and capacitive screen, as it says it will be working with both on the Bada platform. We're not sure why multi-point touch would be a grand idea for a resistive screened phone, but hey, that's Samsung's prerogative, and it will use it if it wants to.