Hands on with the Samsung Wave

A first look at the first Samsung smartphone running the new open Bada platform

Samsung's Wave smartphone is the company's first to run its new Bada operating system, meaning "Ocean" in Korean.

Samsung's Wave smartphone is the company's first to run its new Bada operating system, meaning "Ocean" in Korean.

Samsung has unveiled its latest smartphone — the Samsung Wave — at the opening of the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona.

Officially launched by Samsung’s president of mobile communications, J. K. Shin, the Samsung Wave is the first Samsung smartphone to run the company’s new open operating system, Bada.

Among the key features of the Samsung Wave are a super AMOLED display, claiming to reflect five times less light outdoors than Samsung’s previous AMOLED displays, as well as the availability of Samsung Apps, which will be rolled out in 50 countries including Australia in 2010.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Samsung Wave for a quick play and were largely impressed with what we saw.

The Wave is just 10.9mm thick and feels well constructed despite its light frame. Particularly outstanding is the display, which has superb viewing angles.

The Samsung Wave is impressively fast. Though our unit wasn’t a final production version, the user experience feels polished. Apps open and close swiftly with little delay.

We were also impressed by the notifications pull down tab, which, like the one seen on Google’s Android OS, is available in any menu you navigate to. In addition to quickly being able to toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and silent mode, the Wave’s notifications bar also shows any running applications and lets you read text messages and e-mails without accessing those individual apps.

Our experience with the Samsung Wave wasn’t all smooth sailing — it crashed when we tried to open Samsung’s Facebook app and we also noticed the back cover becomes quite warm after just a few minutes use. We also remain unimpressed with the widgets in the TouchWiz 3.0 user interface — though Samsung has added new widgets, we didn’t find any that were exciting or innovative.

Overall, the Samsung Wave and the new Bada OS left a good first impression, though the real test will come when the Samsung Apps is launched in Australia. The success of the Bada platform will depend on developer support to produce quality applications.

Ross Catanzariti travelled to Mobile World Congress 2010 as a guest of Samsung.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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