We continue to disassemble mobile operating systems and other similar projects that could not survive on the market. There is already a history of Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish OS, Firefox OS, webOS, LiMo and MeeGo. Before analyzing Tizen, it remains to recall the history of Bada, a platform for smartphones from Samsung.
In 2010, the mobile operating system market was in transition. Smartphones with touch screens – iPhone and devices on Android gradually developed on the market. The old Symbian or Windows Mobile are already dead, and other projects like webOS were only trying to capture at least some market share.
Samsung has managed to release smartphones on all kinds of operating systems, including Symbian, Windows Mobile and Android. But in parallel with this, there was a line of touchscreen phones based on its own Samsung Handset Platform (SHP) with a proprietary TouchWIZ interface. Among these phones were Samsung Corby, Star, Jet and others.
Samsung's SHP-based touchscreen smartphones sold well – 40 million more were produced in 2009 alone.
Samsung S8000 Jet
The advertising campaign for the Samsung S8000 Jet did not specifically use the term “smartphone” – there was even the slogan Smarter than smartphone (“smarter than a smartphone”). Thus, Samsung tried to show that the word 'smartphone' does not mean anything specific and that each manufacturer uses the term as it wants.
Samsung S8000 Jet and other touchscreen phones of the company worked on the basis of Samsung Handset Platform, on top of which there was a proprietary TouchWIZ interface. Sales of these phones were good, 40 million in 2009, but for the long-term benefit it was necessary to come up with something more serious. So Samsung has created a more comprehensive product – Bada.
Samsung introduced the Bada platform on November 10, 2009. The announcement was dry and incomprehensible: they promised to release a system for phones and a set of SDK for developers. And it was also known that 'bada' from Korean translates as 'ocean'.
A little more detail appeared only towards the end of the year. It has already become clear that Basa OS is an operating system for touchscreen phones. It is based on the old SHP platform and TouchWiz interface. There will be support for Flash, accelerometer, proximity sensor and more.
The main idea of the Bada project is a smartphone for everyone. Samsung has decided to bring all the functions of smart phones to more affordable touchscreen models. For this, we made a unified platform and an application store. At the same time, they promised to launch a competition for developers with a prize fund of almost $ 3 million.
The SDK for Bada was opened in January 2010, but only for large developers, which received Samsung approval. The fully open source SDK only came out in May.
Samsung has spent a lot of marketing energy to explain that Bada is not just an operating system, but a mobile platform. This is a typical trick to add importance and uniqueness to a project, but for the average consumer there is no fundamental difference. So for convenience, I propose to call Bada an operating system, all the more, as history shows, it was not possible to make a full-fledged platform out of this.
According to the idea, based on the Bada platform, it was possible to create an alternative operating system with a different core and other components, but Samsung itself did not do this. In general, the platform had to work on a wide variety of phones – from the most budget phones with a resistive screen to expensive flagships. At the same time, a single set of SDKs made it possible to release applications for all devices at once. In fact, it was not possible to demonstrate all the capabilities of the platform, so Bada remained an ordinary operating system.
The Bada system, which was in Samsung phones, is more related to closed operating systems. For example, a developer could not create an alternative calling app because the system did not allow third-party programs to access the 'dialer' functionality. But Samsung promised that unlike Apple and other competitors, the company will not take a percentage of the sales of applications in the brand store.
The presentation of the first smartphone at Bada took place in February 2010 at the MWC exhibition – it turned out to be Samsung Wave. In it, the company has collected all new technologies to make the smartphone more attractive. For the first time on the market appeared Bluetooth 3.0, support for the Wi-Fi 802.11n standard and Super AMOLED display. Wave also debuted a new TouchWIZ 3.0 interface with updated widgets and built-in social media support.
TouchWIZ worked on regular Samsung phones, on top of Symbian, Windows Mobile and Android. So in terms of interface Bada was not much different from other phones of the company. If you want to go deeper into the topic, there is a review from Eldar Murtazin:
And in general, Bada OS looked like a typical operating system of the time. Even multitasking was flawed – Samsung Wave could keep several standard programs in memory, but only one third-party application could run in the background. In the Samsung Apps store, at the launch of the first smartphone, there was already a basic set of applications and games, and almost all social networks were built right into the system itself. So in this regard, Bada was much friendlier to users than the same webOS or MeeGo.
In Russia, Samsung Wave cost 20 thousand rubles, at the level of other flagships.
In the summer of 2010, Samsung announced two new smartphones at once on Bada – Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro. Despite the name, these models were one step lower than the original Wave: AMOLED – the display was replaced with a regular TFT, the resolution is lower, there is less memory, the processor is worse. And smartphones cost almost one and a half times cheaper. Therefore, after a while they were renamed Wave 525 and 533.
Wave 533 and 525
The second generation of smartphones based on Bada was no different in functionality from the first Galaxy Wave. The list of preinstalled applications was smaller.
In the same summer, Samsung released the Galaxy S, which in many ways became a competitor to its own flagship Wave. But even such competition did not prevent the launch of the new operating system and the Wave line of smartphones – at the end of the third quarter of 2010, smartphones on Bada occupied 2% of the market, about 1.3 million units were sold. This is a good indicator for launching smartphones on the new operating system, although the Galaxy S sold significantly better.
The success of the Samsung Wave launch is predictable. The company's touchscreen phones were already selling well, but here the company also actively advertised these models. Even in Russia there was a whole advertising campaign to promote the line, for example, Ksenia Sobchak acted as the advertising face for Wave 525.
Already in October 2010, Samsung released a sequel to the flagship model – Wave II. Although it cannot be called a full-fledged continuation for a number of reasons. After the release of the first Wave and Galaxy S, the company faced a shortage of Super AMOLED – matrices, so Samsung released almost the same models, but with conventional LCD – screens. In other respects, the Wave II was not much different from the original flagship, and in terms of functionality, Bada had not changed at all by that time.
Back in the 2010 line of Bada smartphones there were inexpensive Wave 575 and 723 models. We will not dwell on them.
The Bada 2.0 system update was announced a year after the presentation of the first Wave at MWC 2011. The platform received support for NFC modules, HTML5, full multitasking and an adaptive interface. The desktop, animations and other elements of the appearance have also changed – the system has become even more reminiscent of TouchWIZ for Android.
Within a month, Samsung reported 100 million app downloads since launching the store for Bada. The most downloaded application was Magic Torch (flashlight) and two games – Need for Speed Shift and Asphalt 5. At that time there were 13 thousand applications in Samsung Apps, of course, most of this was rubbish or simple free games. There was still a basic set for an undemanding user in 2010, but there was a lack of, for example, normal maps with navigation.
The line of smartphones at Bada was replenished at the end of August 2011 – the flagship Wave 3 and the state employees Wave M and Wave Y were presented. The Super AMOLED matrix was returned to the flagship, but in terms of characteristics and capabilities it was not much different from the first smartphone.
A month after the announcement of new smartphones, Samsung announced a partnership with Intel and participation in the project Tizen – a new operating system. Everyone worried that Nokia's MeeGo project would be closed because of this, but for some reason the media did not mention Bada.
After the presentation of the new line, journalists released reviews of the flagship Wave 3. It was praised, but not like the first model. The screen seems to have become larger, but the resolution is the same, and Super AMOLED – the display is no longer so surprising. The price against the background of competitors is not so attractive, and over time there are no more applications.
So after the fall of 2011 everyone seemed to have forgotten about Bada, including Samsung itself. There were no new smartphones, major updates, or anything else. The project simply fell out of the information field. It wasn't until January 2012 that news came from Forbes that Samsung was planning to merge Bada with a new project Tizen. It was planned to make the same or at least similar API so that developers for Bada could port their applications and continue development on the new platform. But at that time Samsung had not yet decided what to do with Bada – to close it or leave it for low-power phones. In addition, Tizen they also did not plan to use it as the main operating system, so priority was given to Android.
After that, there was another lull. Although back in 2012, developers continued to release applications – for Bada they released Opera Mini, Mail.Ru mail and the Viber messenger.
It seems that the company has been struggling to figure out what to do with Bada for a long time. Therefore, in the fall of 2012, Samsung announced a new line OLED – TVs that will run on a modified Bada system. The truth did not go beyond words.
But enthusiasts did not wait for Samsung and began to port Android to Wave smartphones. Even on the very first flagship, you could run the CyanogenMod build.
And only after a year of silence, in February 2013, Samsung officially announced the merger between Bada and Tizen. True, for the owners of Wave smartphones, this news did not bring anything good – no one promised to update them to Tizen. So from now on the Bada operating system or platform can be considered closed.
Compared to other operating systems like webOS or MeeGo, Bada had at least some chance of existence. The company spent a lot of money on the development and promotion of the system, and even achieved some results – sales of Wave smartphones outpaced Windows Phone. But against the background of sales Android – smartphones it was minuscule, so such a step was obvious for Samsung.
Bada's successes should not be overestimated either. The Samsung Wave line sold the best in the Russian market, and in the US these models were not promoted at all.
At the same time, it is not clear why Samsung has abandoned one unpopular system in favor of a new project. The company may have been trying to leave a backup plan in case any problems start with Android. We will try to make out this in history Tizen.