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I can't believe it's not Bada: Samsung smartens up feature phones

Samsung wants to bring smart phone apps to feature phones, and it's opening up its Bada platform to developers to do it, with new phones on their way next year

Samsung is going to give its feature phones a shot of brain food and make them more like smart phones with the launch of its new Bada platform.

It hopes Bada will make it easy for developers to make apps for phones such as the Samsung Jet. There's a Bada SDK for developers to start coding apps for a range of new phones, which will start appearing in the UK in the first half of 2010.

The user interface for phones running Bada won't look shockingly different to existing Samsung phones, because it's based on the same TouchWiz user interface we saw on the Jet and the Samsung Tocco Ultra.

Bada will give developers the chance to access phones' accelerometers, tilt, weather, proximity and activity sensors, so they can build apps that respond to tilting the phone, for example. Applications can be built in C++, Java or Flash.

Samsung said we'll have to wait to find out how much developers will be able to keep from the sale of their hard work until it has finalised agreements with the networks that will carry the new phones. Samsung says users could be willing to pay around the £5 mark for apps, which we think is inexpressibly optimistic.

In the meantime, it's handing out $2.7m in prizes, with a $300,000 top prize, in a contest to tempt programmers to get to grips with Bada. There will also be developer days in London, San Francisco and Seoul to start them off with hands-on help.

Samsung emphasised Bada's potential as a gaming platform, announcing partnerships with Gameloft and Capcom. It also has a deal with Twitter and says the Bada platform offers easy access to the phone's photo and messaging features for developers who want to create apps that link with social networks.

Samsung will also continue making smart phones running Windows Mobile, Android and Symbian, rather than abandoning the major operating systems for an all-Bada future.