Samsung Bada: Is it impressing developers?

I am sat amongst the creme of the UK’s mobile developer talent. There is a significant amount of beards in evidence so I know I’m amongst the developer elite.

Right now, there’s a chap up on stage walking through the CustomListItem(); procedure and how that corresponds to a UI list item. This isn’t for the faint hearted but I am witnessing lots of people with their heads down furiously taking notes. I’m also seeing lots of pens hovering over lips, folk staring intently and hands supporting heads whilst developers stare intently. I would thus surmise that the presentations are being well received by the audience.

It’s a little bit lost on me, though. I can more or less understand what they’re discussing (being a bit of a PHP developer myself). But I’m not the target audience. As the questions at the end of the last section demonstrated, the developers here are seriously evaluating Samsung’s Bada and very much appreciating the in-depth technical briefings being delivered.

That’s not to say today is all geekery. No, we’ve had presentations outlining the substantial possibilities with Samsung Bada. We were, for example, reminded that Samsung sent 40 million touchscreen phones into the market last year.

Interestingly, Samsung aren’t aiming to compete directly with the existing smartphone platforms. Instead, they’re aiming to enlarge the existing market, moving feature phone users to smartphone users. I like the strategy, given that Samsung are one of the biggest manufacturers of phones we’d normally refer to as ‘feature’ class. One slide — which I’ll see if I can pick up — showed a pie chart with the 15-20% chunk assigned to Smartphones, the rest feature phones. The Samsung chap then modified the pie chart to show the smartphone segment enlarging to perhaps 40% — indicating where Samsung intends attracting its customer base from.

I found the image:

We were also reminded to consider Samsung at the macro level as one of the world’s largest consumer electronics manufacturers.

Will we, then, be seeing Bada on tablets, netbooks and televisions? A question from the audience had the panel of Samsung executives in a mild panic. Could they confirm that Bada will appear on other platforms? One of the executives — after some considered whispering — made it clear that ‘today, we’re just talking about Bada Mobile’.

Interesting. So we’ll be seeing Bada elsewhere.

It’s very easy to forget Samsung’s market size, might and capabilities. Sitting in front of their evangelists and executives talking through the Bada OS in detail, and answering challenging questions from the audience confidently and swiftly, I am very much left with the viewpoint that Samsung is very, very serious about Bada and the platform is going to be very, very successful.

Now, there’s a lot that has to happen for that to happen — but if the audience here are a reliable barometer, there isn’t going to be any shortage of attention for the Bada platform from UK developers. We shall see.

2 replies on “Samsung Bada: Is it impressing developers?”

Ewan, what do you feel about the competition from Nokia in precisely the segment Samsung are looking to expand Bada into? i.e. Nokia have been pushing S60 phones hard down into the top of the feature phone segment for some time now, and have some very good (for their price position) S60 based smartphones out there. Furthermore a large chunk of the future growth of mobile will be in emerging markets, and again we currently see Nokia as very strong in these areas, so presumably there is some brand loyalty there. Thirdly, Ovi Store offers developers an established route to market that is currently doing almost 2 million downloads a day. Of course there is a piece of the pie for Bada, and it may well be technically very good, but it will be interesting to see how Nokia competition affects this. I am not saying Samsung cannot come and conquer that segment potentially, but the odds do appear stacked against them somewhat. That said, it is very healthy to have competition in that sector, and encouraging to see feature phones be turned into smart phones, which will be excellent for consumers.

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