Samsung Looking to Take Bada OS Open Source in 2012: Report

By Beecher Tuttle September 20, 2011

Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility has put device makers that rely on the company's Android mobile operating system in a precarious position, forcing many of them to react with a move of their own.

Following HTC's acknowledgement that it is considering purchasing its own mobile software platform, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Samsung is planning on making its underperforming Bada OS an open source platform at some point in 2012.

Both potential moves are being viewed as direct responses to the Motorola Mobility purchase, which leaves device makers like HTC and Samsung highly dependent on a software developer whose priorities may no longer lie with its partners. Some analysts have speculated that non-Google-owned Android devices could be at a significant disadvantage in the market after the Motorola deal shakes out.

By making Bada an open source platform, Samsung will be looking to attract other developers and device manufacturers to the mobile OS – a move that Google successfully pulled off with Android.

 Heading to an open source model can often lead to a fragmented operating system, but with the limited success of Bada, it seems like the prudent move. Bada was running on less than 2 percent of all smartphones sold in the second quarter of 2011.

A source close to the situation told the Journal that Samsung may also look to adapt Bada to other devices outside of the smartphone arena, such as smart TVs.

“In theory, it makes sense to turn Bada into a multiplatform operating system because that will increase the total addressable market for service developers,” Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, told the news source. “But in reality, it is not yet fully clear whether Bada can scale up to bigger displays. For example, can the OS cope with the greater number of pixels in a large display?”

HTC is in a similar boat as Samsung, but doesn't have its own OS to roll out to the public. CEO Cher Wang recently told the Economic Observer of China that the company has internally discussed the idea of purchasing a mobile software platform, but “will not do it on impulse.”

Who knows? Maybe HP's discarded webOS platform could be for sale.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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