TRYING OUT Samsung's Bada 2.0 mobile operating system (OS) we had a strong sense of deja vu, like we'd definitely seen it somewhere before, but where?
Yes, the new version of Bada looks a lot like Android, and its functionality is pretty similar. Plus, it has its own version of Apple's Siri built in, as well as a folders option that reminds us distinctly of IOS 5.
We tried the latest version of Bada on a preview copy of the Samsung Wave III, which is due out later this year and is likely to be the first handset featuring the new Bada 2.0 OS.
New features of Bada 2.0 include enhanced user interface controls, app ads, push notifications and web technology.
It also has an updated look and feel with a colour picker, date-time picker, context menu and list view, and the clipboard allows copy and paste.
Bada 2.0 has enhanced face recognition technology for the camera, while multitasking adds inter-application communication to allow easier communication between apps. Near field communications (NFC) is built into the SDK. For web developers there's a new web framework and the ability to use HTML files.
Bada 2.0 has live panels and widgets that you can customise, you can also add your contacts to the bottom of the screen, and you can drag the widgets onto the home screen. We were pleased when we saved a new contact and it gave us the option to add it to the home screen. Very handy when it comes to fast dialling.
Another addition to Bada 2.0 is the ability to use folders. To create a folder, we either dragged the item into a folder or pressed two things at once. This was pretty straightforward and quite satisfying, although it's not like it's anything new.
Meanwhile, the addition of voice commands is like a poor man's Siri. It allows you to send texts, email, update Facebook or search Google. We can't say we were very impressed with this. We compared it to Siri on the Iphone 4S by asking it a number of questions. It didn't answer.
Admittedly, we've had problems with Siri understanding our British accent, but Bada's version barely listened to our commands. More work is needed here.
The social hub is also a new feature of Bada 2.0 and allows you to look at Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and the like all on the same feed. We can't say it's particularly impressive either, since such a feature is available on many smartphones and operating systems.
Overall, Bada 2.0 is okay. It looks like Android, with a touch of Apple's IOS thrown in for good measure. However, it's easy to use and the folders option is nice, as is the fact that it's so customisable. Samsung just needs to add some more original features to its own OS.
The Korean phone maker's mission now will be to get developers on board, and maybe, just maybe, the Bada OS will finally take off. µ