Samsung may be posting strong growth figures, following the launch of its Android-running line of Galaxy smartphones, but the open-source Google operating system isn’t the only platform the company is betting on. On Oct. 6, it unveiled the Wave II, which like the original Wave, introduced at the Mobile World Congress in February, runs Samsung’s open-source Bada platform.
The Wave II, Samsung President JK Shin said in a press statement, responds to the feedback consumers offered following the Wave. It features a 3.7-inch TFT-LCD screen, runs the latest edition of Bada, version 1.2, can support multiple video formats and HD video recording, and using software by t9 Trace offers QuickType – which is said to enable users to type more quickly and naturally.
The Wave II also comes with Social Hub, a feature that funnels together email, SMS, IM and phonebook information into a single view. And with quick access to Samsung Apps, users can customize the device with downloads.
“Our customers told us that they would like to have a bigger display and a better input method so we fulfilled their needs,” Shin said. “They said they like advanced features so we built more into the device. The Samsung Wave II has really shown Samsung’s innovative capabilities.”
Samsung didn’t offer a full data sheet on the Wave II, but given that WiFi connectivity, a 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 3.0 and assisted GPS were included on the original Wave, they’re not a bad bet for the Wave II.
One focus of the Bada OS – which means “ocean” in Korean – is on how users interact with the device. Through motion sensors, vibration control and face detection, it becomes user-specific and enables applications to be “context aware,” Samsung explained in an early introduction of the OS. It also supports social networking, device synchronization, content management and location-based services.
Plus, as the provider of both the handsets’ hardware and software, it increases Samsung’s control over the device and its ability to profit from it – a model enjoyed by Apple and now Hewlett-Packard, following its acquisition of Palm.
Still, support for a variety of mobile platforms remains in Samsung’s best interests. On Oct. 11, Microsoft debuted its Windows Phone 7 platform on a number of devices, two of which – the Focus and Omnia 7 – were from Samsung.
And there’s Android, the “secret sauce” for handset makers, iSuppli Analyst Tina Teng wrote in an Oct. 12 report that showed Android to be the key to growth during the second quarter. The majority of the fastest-growing smartphone makers during the quarter, reported iSuppli, all had Android handsets front-and-center in their mobile portfolios. In the case of HTC, that meant a payoff of 63.1 percent growth in shipments, and for Samsung, which posted the second-largest global growth figure for the quarter, a boost of 55.6 percent.
Boding well for Bada, Samsung partners who are expressing support for the OS sound much like those enthusing Android. “Bada is accessible, open to all and very easy to use,” Yusuhir Sumida, general manager of gaming giant Capcom’s online business division, has said.
The Samsung Wave II will be available in France in November, before rolling out to markets including Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, India and China.