Samsung Bada phone OS to go open source

Samsung plans to recruit other manufacturers to make Bada phones and tablets by making the simple operating system free.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Samsung plans to recruit other manufacturers to broaden the range of phones and tablets that use Bada, by making the simple operating system open source, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That means other companies will be able to use it for free in tablets and phones to join the Samsung Wave 3, Wave M and Wave Y. The software is likely to be opened up next year, according to the WSJ's source.

In the war of the smart phone ecosystems, there are two dominant powers: Apple and Google. Apple's iOS software powers the iPhone and iPad, while Google's Android software is open source and is used by loads of phones and tablets made by many different manufacturers, including Samsung.

Android owes its success to its open-source nature: the wide range of devices using Android means phone owners can choose their perfect phone, manufacturers can adapt the OS to different uses, and app developers can fill the Android Market with cool and useful apps.

When it comes to app ecosystems, open is better, as there's a vicious cycle linking numbers of users with number of apps -- if there's no apps, users won't get the phones, but if there's no users, developers won't make apps.

Only Apple and its enormous brand clout can truly get away with a closed ecosystem -- hence HP ditching its own webOS, and Nokia sidelining the MeeGo and Symbian software it's been stuck with. Nokia is turning to Windows Phone instead. It's not open source, but is used by a range of manufacturers and has Microsoft's clout behind it, which Nokia hopes will appeal to a wider audience.

Opening up Bada will also allow Samsung not to lean on Android so heavily. Apple is attacking Android in court, and it's Samsung that's borne the brunt of the first wave of patent disputes, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 both banned.

Samsung also makes Windows Phones, as well as Android and Bada devices, and recently rather testily denied it was buying webOS as well.