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Samsung announces Linux smartphone OS

Samsung announces Linux smartphone OS

Future Samsung handsets will, in the majority, be running the company's freshly-announced Linux-based bada platform.

Google's Android is set to receive some competition with the news that Samsung is launching its own Linux-based smartphone platform dubbed "bada."

According to an article over on Electronista, Samsung's bada - which is derived from the Korean word for 'ocean' - is set to be a completely open platform, with nothing considered beyond the reach of wily developers: if the core system can achieve it, third party developers can access, expand, and even replace it.

Designed to compete against existing Linux-based open-source platforms including Google's popular Android, Nokia's Maemo, and the Linux Mobile Foundation's LiMo project, bada is due to ship some time in the first half of 2010 - with carriers receiving the ability to customise the operating system as they see fit, along with a sneak peek in December for interested developers.

While carrier customisation is certainly important if you want anyone to actually carry your handset, Samsung is going to have to walk a fine line: for a platform which prides itself on hackability and openness, a heavily locked down version from a paranoid carrier will harm bada's reputation - and could see the platform sink in an already fairly crowded marketplace.

As is de rigeur for smartphone platforms, bada will - of course - be receiving a centralised application store which offers downloadable software for all versions of the OS, no matter which carrier. So far the company hasn't detailed the process by which developers can get their applications on the store, nor the cut the company will take from the sale price. There is also no confirmation as to whether the openness of the platform extends to the ability to easily install applications from sources other than the official app store - something missing from rivals such as Apple's iPhone OS.

The move will see Samsung abandon Nokia's Symbian platform entirely, and reduce its use of Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform to just 20 percent of its handsets by 2012.

Do you believe that truly open Linux-based smartphones are the way forward, or should Samsung be helping to develop Google's Android platform rather than introducing another bit-player into the market? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

15 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Singularity 10th November 2009, 10:20 Quote
Seriously? Why not just use Android?
No offence, but I don't really see how samsung could make a self sustaining mobile platform. I have a feeling they'll end up as slightly-better-than-dumbphones with just about enough applications to make it seem viable to the investors...
alpaca 10th November 2009, 10:31 Quote
not sure if this is the best course of action either. i tend to believe they should support android, that way there are a few mature systems instead of a whole lot immature...
Matticus 10th November 2009, 10:46 Quote
Come on guys, competition is a good thing. Do you think anything would ever have got invented or bettered with the "why not just use what we already have" attitude its human nature to try new things and improve older things.
yakyb 10th November 2009, 12:07 Quote
but it also leads to problems in cross compatibility as there will only be a handful of useful apps for this thing
Bauul 10th November 2009, 12:23 Quote
Competition is always good for the consumer, but I can't see this being wholly succesful for Samsung. Yes they're the second largest handset manufacturer, but Android is getting crazy amounts of hype from the other manufacturers: Motorola are moving practically all of their handsets over to the platform (not that Motorola really exist in the UK anymore, but they do overseas).

Rather uniquiely (ignoring Windows Mobile's lame attempts) a phone sporting Android is becoming a selling point unto itself. I can forsee Smartphones lacking it in the future struggling against those with it.
steveo_mcg 10th November 2009, 13:57 Quote
I've just been in the carphone warehouse and had a play with both. The samsung OS isn't bad but Android is much slicker.
l3v1ck 10th November 2009, 14:34 Quote
So you can put anything you want on it then?
That's miles better than Apple and their "only use what we say"attitude.
War-Rasta 10th November 2009, 15:51 Quote
I agree with those who don't see this becoming really popular. I do think competition is good, but it's getting a little out of hand at the moment. Android will definitely out do Badas in my opinion. Why would I want to develop a piece of software for an OS that doesn't have the HUGE user base that Android already has? I'm not saying Badas won't be any good but it surely has a big opponent to beat.
okenobi 10th November 2009, 16:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by War-Rasta
Why would I want to develop a piece of software for an OS that doesn't have the HUGE user base that Android already has? I'm not saying Badas won't be any good but it surely has a big opponent to beat.

Android doesn't have a "HUGE" user base relative to WinMo or iPhone. It's only fair Linux gets a shot at the phone market and I'll be interested to see how it turns out. Linux runs on way more stuff than the other two or Android anyway and a ton of dev time goes into the plethora of flavours already available.

Not to mention Samsung screens are where it's at right now and if they pair this thing with a capacative touchscreen it could be a real alternative to the iPhone for normal people, not just geeks.
lkcl 16th November 2009, 18:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca
not sure if this is the best course of action either. i tend to believe they should support android, that way there are a few mature systems instead of a whole lot immature...

http://opensource.samsungmobile.com/index.jsp?page=1

there are _four_ smartphones with android source code released for each. the remaining phones, of which there are a further 15+, use the Carnegie Mellon University "MACH" Kernel, which is veeeery interesting.

that means that whatever they're developing will be sxxt-hot-fast, responsive, and a tiny amount of code.
lkcl 16th November 2009, 19:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity
Seriously? Why not just use Android?
No offence, but I don't really see how samsung could make a self sustaining mobile platform. I have a feeling they'll end up as slightly-better-than-dumbphones with just about enough applications to make it seem viable to the investors...

google's own developers are struggling with android. it's getting way out of hand, and places far too much reliance on java.

you're forgetting that samsung has _twenty_ years experience in developing mobile platforms. they have their own ARM CPUs (samsung SC24xx series and newer) that are prevalent in PDAs and smartphones the world over.

it's an absolutely brilliant move given that openmoko is a failure, and with nokiaa getting a 500 million euro loan in january of this year from the EIB to buy symbian and trolltech.

_think_.
lkcl 16th November 2009, 19:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul

Rather uniquiely (ignoring Windows Mobile's lame attempts) a phone sporting Android is becoming a selling point unto itself. I can forsee Smartphones lacking it in the future struggling against those with it.

in which markets?

you think that the market in the USA is important? the USA only has 250 million people: China has what... 4 billion+ and people there have bypassed landlines and gone straight to mobile phones. Brazil is a largely untapped enormous market on its own. so android is becoming popular in the USA and maybe in Europe - so what? there's more going on here than just a "whizzy java phone".

also you have to remember that android is NOT "completely open". you cannot get just any android phone and reflash the firmware, you have to do some reverse-engineering to get at the hardware.

and, you quite often find that some of the linux kernel modules added to android phones in some of these devices are _still_ proprietary, despite the GPLv2 license on the linux source code.

the first manufacturer that actually provides a _fully_ open smartphone platform as commodity hardware is one that free software developers will go nuts over (especially because of the failure of openmoko).
PingCrosby 12th April 2010, 17:06 Quote
Bada...BOOOOM.
Shagbag 12th April 2010, 17:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkcl
the first manufacturer that actually provides a _fully_ open smartphone platform as commodity hardware is one that free software developers will go nuts over (especially because of the failure of openmoko).
I don't understand why hardware manufacturers don't just sell their hardware and let open source developers do what they want with it. If they just sold a 'barebones' handset+SDK and let the OSS community put the flesh on the bollocks.
Nick_Djinn 10th May 2010, 11:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagbag
I don't understand why hardware manufacturers don't just sell their hardware and let open source developers do what they want with it. If they just sold a 'barebones' handset+SDK and let the OSS community put the flesh on the bollocks.

That might work with PDAs but I think people expect more from a phone. Bare bones computers certainly have a market, but when you buy a phone its usually with a plan and each phone company wants to limit you to staying with them.....a lawsuit says that phones must be unlockable, but then Sprint and Verizon have their own type of phones and bandwidth that isnt interchangeable.....what I am getting at is that the phone companies want their phones to be ready to go for consumers right out of the box.....and I suspect they might even be a little leery of a phone that can be hacked.


Still, I would LOVE a completely open source phone. There is so much cool **** that can be done with a linux OS that cannot be done with Window or Apple. You are not allowed to go rewrite the code with those programs, and you need to get permission and pay royalties to access the code with permission. FUUUUCK that.

Android does NOT represent Linux really. Yes, they use some of the linux kernel, but its not linux if its not open source, and Android is not open source. Linux users should NOT be endorsing Android just because it uses the Linux kernal, they should be hoping for a completely open source OS.



There are many benefits to the tech savvy consumer when you have an open source device, and some potential drawbacks to the phone companies .....A phone that can be hacked is a phone that you can do cool **** with, is a phone where they can't 'sell' you apps because somebody will invent an alternative for free. Open source generally has less spyware. I would also wonder if these phones would allow you to hack services from the network by hacking the firmware....its bound to happen, but that isnt Samsungs problem really.


On the other hand this is a potentially smart move for Samsung.....I think Samsung will get MORE than enough support....While Google has to pay people to write programs with closed source code, Samsung will have armies of linux coders and hackers just jumping at the chance to give their work away for free. There will be more cool programs than anyone knows what to do with. It will be THE phone to have for the tech savvy consumer, and if the consumers demand this phone the phone companies will have to carry it. It might start off slow, but the development will progress rapidly.




As for just selling hardware.....I would like to learn how to either just install right over the firmware and replace existing firmware with a linux-OS.....I think Ubuntu attempted a mobile program but I think it flopped....it might still be around though, but no longer supported by connonical. There is also Moblin.....a dual operating system for your smartphone or PDA would be cool.....

If you have a good enough processor and other specs you might be able to run linux OS as a program from inside another native OS.
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