Samsung releases Bada SDK

The phone giant hopes to attract developers to its application platform

Time will tell if Samsung can attract developers to its own smartphone operating system now that it has released the beta of its Bada software development kit.

Bada is a software platform that Samsung announced last year that will allow developers to build applications for phones running Samsung's proprietary operating system.

The SDK, posted Thursday to the Bada developer Web site, includes an integrated development environment, simulator, user interface builder, sample applications, documentation and tutorials. The IDE is based on Eclipse CDT and the UI framework supports Samsung's TouchWiz UI.

Some people, including Ken Hyers, an analyst at Technology Business Research, groaned at the initial announcement about Bada. "My reaction then was, oh Christ, another OS, another app store," he said on Friday.

On second thought, however, he said it makes sense for Samsung to have its own application development environment. Samsung is the second biggest handset vendor in the world and is now the largest in North America. Hyers expects that one-third of Samsung's smartphone handset models this year will support Bada. Developers are typically drawn to platforms that have the most end users.

Apple remains the clear leader in attracting developers to its application store, the largest in the mobile market. But beyond Apple, it's clear that the number of users on a platform attracts developers. Palm, which had a very small market share when it launched its new WebOS, demonstrated just how important market share is, Hyers noted. After struggling due to slow sales, Hewlett-Packard recently announced plans to buy Palm.

The first phones running Bada are expected to hit the market in June.

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