bada 2.0 to get a personal assistant app to rival Siri?

Sources reveal a personal assistant app being developed for the bada platform that may prove a worthy competitor to Apple’s Siri.

Remember Viki, the AI robot from the film iRobot? How would you like Viki as your personal assistant?

Viki is currently being developed for bada 2.0. The app sports an animated “robot” assistant that answers direct questions and accepts commands. Possible questions that a user can ask Viki range from general ones like, “What is the meaning of life?” to more complex ones like, “What is 7698 + 436 +865?”. Apart from that Viki can take care of most of your personal scheduling needs from setting alarms, reminders, tasks, creating calls, sending texts and emails. Viki can also search the internet using Google.

Itseems to be offered in English (US and UK) for now, but there’s no information on whether it will support additional languages in the future. Current bada 2.0 firmware ships with Vlingo as a default voice recognition feature, but Vlingo is limited to performing a few tasks with limited commands. Viki, however is more interactive in that it provides a spoken response to commands and questions.

Is this why Samsung is holding back on  releasing bada 2.0?

Samsung was supposed to have rolled out bada 2.0 updates during Q4 of 2011, but eventually disappointed consumers by revealing that updates may only be available by as late as June 2012! The Korean company also delayed its shipment of the Wave 3 globally. Only a few countries to date have been lucky enough to welcome the device on their shores. Consumers are also concerned that the Samsung Apps store for the Wave I and Wave II have received very few additions in recent months. Perhaps Samsung does not want to be hasty in launching the updated bada 2.0 platform and the new Wave device because it is still busy polishing up great additions to the platform like Viki. After-all, when bada 2.0 goes global along with the Wave 3, Samsung will be sending out this awesome device with its well polished flagship platform that features Touchwiz 4.0, TomTom Navigation, Vlingo, Viki, Ch@tOn, Angry Birds, etc. The Wave 3 also shows off some amazing hardware from its stunning metallic body to the 4″ Super AMOLED display and its powerful 1.4GHz processor.  Surely this will create a stir in the smartphone market and will assist in reducing Samsung’s dependence on Google’s Android platform, (also another possible reason why Samsung is developing Viki to run on bada and not its Android devices). We also recently learnt that Samsung is a member of the Tizen Association, but it will not scrap bada for Tizen.

I don’t know about you, but the image of a Wave 3 (or perhaps its successor) by the end of 2012, featuring full bada 2.2 with Samsung’s own version of Siri, makes me feel all fuzzy inside! Watch this space as we bring you the latest updates and exclusive bada news!

More Screenshots

Why Tizen? What does it mean for bada?

Tizen is a new project to develop an open-source, Linux-based mobile platform. That’s all great, but why do we keep on hearing about Tizen together with bada? At CES 2012, Tae-Jin Kang, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s Contents Planning Team, in an interview referred to by Forbes, said, “We have an effort that will merge bada and Tizen”.

Tizen with bada and Linux

Tizen seems to be heavily based on bada, but with a Linux kernel instead.

Tizen incorporates many components from bada
According to the Forbes report, Tizenwill support the same SDK as bada, meaning that apps built for bada (1.0 , 1.2 and 2.0) will be fully compatible on the Tizen platform. Once Tizen is up and running, app developers may easily compile an app for both Tizen and bada using the same SDK.

So why not just keep bada? A browse around the internet doesn’t reveal anything concrete about why Samsung is involved heavily in the Tizen project, when it already has bada to develop. However, we can only speculate the following:

Tizen is based on Linux and is an open source project that will most likely find itself on various devices from Samsung to the likes of Nokia (since Meego is no more). On the other hand, bada is Samsung’s own proprietary platform, built on BSD which it embeds on its own devices and associates with its own brand. There was speculation sometime last year that Samsung would make bada an open source project, but with the rise of Tizen, that seems highly unlikely.

So, how will bada, or Samsung benefit from all this?

Since Tizen will be available on various devices, the platform will draw in app developers from different spheres, pulling in a wide selection of apps. These apps will all be compatible with bada (since Tizen is heavily based on bada) and all bada devices will benefit from a greater selection of apps.

Also, Tizen is based on Linux, just like Android. Now, this is important because Samsung’s involvement in an open source Linux-based mobile platform other than Android suggests that Samsung is looking for an alternative platform to power its Galaxy range. Why would they? Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility is a red flag, signalling other mobile manufacturers away from the platform. Motorola will almost definitely benefit from the acquisition because it will most likely be Google’s device of choice on which to further develop Android, and who wants to just follow what Motorola has? Not Samsung, that’s for sure!

Sammobile recently posted leaked images of the Tizen platform on a Samsung I9500. The I9500 is a Galaxy phone (possibly Galaxy S3, but we won’t go that far in making assumptions just yet). Here are the images:

According to the Tizen Association, “The initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012, enabling first devices to come to market in mid-2012.

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The Tizen Association was launched late last year. The current companies on the Board of Directors are listed below:

Tizen Association

bada shows significant growth in 2011

According to stats from NET Market Share, bada grew from 0.00% in July 2011 to 0.17% in December 2011.

bada market share 2011

bada market share 2011

From the (rough) statistics above, Samsung’s bada platform seems to have made major gains in market share during the second half of 2011. The highest gains were made shortly after Samsung announced the Wave 3 and other bada 2.0 devices.

These statistics are vital in encouraging third party development for the OS. In-turn, big-name apps bring more users to the system. Recently we learnt that Rovio have been developing Angry Birds for bada 2.0. An early version of the game appeared in the Samsung Apps store for S8600 devices. The news sparked a lot of interest online. It seems that all bada needs now is the arrival of other big-name apps like WhatsApp, Trapster, Evernote, etc. and consumers will be flocking to buy Samsung’s amazing range of Wave devices.

Last year, we saw bada device sales overtake that of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. With the release of bada 2.0 to the Wave I and II and the official release of the Wave 3 around the globe all expected to occur in the first half of 2012, what does the future hold for bada? Watch this space to find out 🙂