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Samsung Sees Open Water With 'Bada'

The field of "open" mobile operating systems is going to get even more crowded in 2010.

Giant South Korean phone vendor Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) is prepping its own "Bada" open operating system for launch this December. Bada (Korean for "ocean") will join Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android, the LiMo Foundation 's mobile Linux code, and the Symbian Foundation 's newly open code-base, all of which can be tweaked by third-party developers.

In-Stat says that the launch reflects the prevailing trend in the cellphone market: The focus has shifted from hardware to software and providing a flexible environment for developing and porting applications.

The Symbian operating system is still the dominant player in the mobile operating system market. Canalys.com Ltd. recently found that Symbian had 46.2 percent share of the overall smartphone OS market in the third quarter of 2009. (See Android's Steep Climb.) In-Stat believes that new open entrants could start to reduce Symbian's market share.

"The momentum of alternative OSs is unmistakable and will continue to cut away at Symbian’s market share," says In-Stat VP of mobile research Frank Dickson in a note on Bada. "While it is difficult to forecast the future of new entrants like Bada, the market might of Samsung will give Bada life." Dickson, however, believes that Android, not Bada, will be the big open OS news next year: "In the short term, Android seems to have the strong momentum. 2010 will be the year of Android."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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