SAN DIEGO--Samsung executives said the company is considering launching its home-grown bada platform in the U.S. market, a move that would add yet another option to an already crowded smartphone market.
"I think that [launching bada in the United States] is something that's always going to be under consideration," said Samsung's Chris Martinez, senior manager of strategy for the company.
Martinez said Samsung would consider bringing its bada smartphone operating system to the U.S. market if conditions were right: specifically, if the company's carrier partners agreed to offer bada phones and Samsung felt confident it could rally application developer support around the platform. However, Martinez cautioned that Samsung has long considered such a move, and that it doesn't have any immediate plans to bring bada to the United States.
Nonetheless, bada continues to represent a surprisingly strong business for Samsung. Martinez said that Samsung has shipped 5 million bada devices in markets outside the United States--a number that compares favorably to the 6 million Galaxy S phones the company shipped in international markets. Martinez said that bada appeals to "pockets" of users in geographic specific areas, though he declined to provide details.
Bada is Samsung's internally designed smartphone operating system, which the company has pushed in Europe and elsewhere through its Wave-branded phones. Research firm Canalys recently reported that Samsung in the second quarter posted year-on-year growth of 421 percent, which the firm said was "helped by significant growth" of 355 percent in its bada-powered smartphone shipments. And developers have shown interest in the platform; Samsung counts more than 13,000 apps in its bada app store.
Interestingly, bada is clearly on the mind of at least some U.S. wireless carrier executives. Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam has repeatedly named bada as a possible contender in the market for smartphone operating systems, alongside Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. But Verizon currently doesn't offer any bada-powered phones.
Analysts generally agree that bada represents a hedge by Samsung against over-reliance on Google's Android smartphone operating system, which powers the majority of the company's smartphones. Martinez noted that Samsung prides itself as "being OS agnostic." Samsung also makes smartphones using Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software.
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