Samsung vows major bada investment to build Android alternative

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BARCELONA, Spain--Samsung Electronics plans to "significantly" increase investment in its bada smartphone operating system, pitching the platform as an alternative to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.

"We believe [bada] is a good platform to build on," Samsung senior vice president of product strategy Juha Park told Bloomberg during an interview here at Mobile World Congress 2012. "We want to have a full range of portfolio for Bada, from high-end to mass-volume segments."

Samsung introduced bada in late 2009, targeting Europe and emerging markets. The manufacturer has not yet introduced a bada device for the U.S. market. Last fall, The Wall Street Journal reported Samsung planned to open bada to other manufacturers and software developers, a move to accelerate growth of the platform while also distancing the company from its reliance on Android.

Samsung is presently the world's largest Android vendor, but its continued commitment to the platform have been the subject of speculation for months, especially in the wake of Google's agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) for roughly $12.5 billion. Google has promised Android will remain open, but analysts speculate that manufacturers building Android devices may not enjoy the same technological support and access given to Motorola once the company is absorbed into the Google family. There's also the question of whether Samsung wants to continue mortgaging its future on Android when the platform is the target of multiple patent rights lawsuits.

"We will maintain our multiple OS strategy," Park told Bloomberg, adding that Android devices will remain the "bigger part" of Samsung's smartphone lineup. The company plans to unveil its follow-up to the Galaxy S II in the second quarter, he said. Samsung also will release smartphones and tablets running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, Park said.

Samsung's decision to accelerate its bada plans follow a month after a Samsung executive revealed the company is working to merge bada with Linux-based device software platform Tizen. Samsung quickly backpedaled, issuing a statement reading "Samsung and other members of Tizen Association have not made a firm decision regarding the merger of bada and Tizen. We are carefully looking at it as an option to make the platforms serve better for customers. As Samsung's essential part of multi-platform portfolio, bada will continue to play an important role in democratizing smartphone experience in all markets. Samsung will also support open source based development and continue to work together with other industry stakeholders."

For more:
- read this Bloomberg article

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