Is there room in the world for another smartphone operating system? With Android, Apple’s iOS, Blackberry, Palm’s WebOS and the new Symbian 3 already embroiled in a Royal Rumble, we’re inclined to say no. But Samsung’s Wave, the first phone to run the company’s new Bada OS, is hoping to show us up as idiots.
A slim, glamorous smartphone with a dazzling super AMOLED screen and the ability to shoot 720p video, it certainly makes a good first impression. But, as the iPhone has shown, an impressive CV is nothing without a charming user experience.
To help achieve this, the Wave runs the old familiar TouchWiz interface on top of the Bada OS.
It offers up to 10 widget-based homescreens, along with a series ?of iPhone-style grids of app icons. Annoyingly, you can’t add these icons to the homescreens.
?Bada supports multi-touch, and the pinch-to-zoom feature we know from the iPhone is smooth and very responsive thanks to the Wave’s 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Still, it’s a bit annoying to find that when you’re typing the keyboard only responds to one touch at a time.
There are neat touches throughout, such as the text message notifications that appear as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (slide them into an empty slot to read them) and the Android-style drop-down menu.
Samsung has its own app store with a dedicated widget onboard. Of course, it’s not going to match the Apple App Store any time soon but includes a reasonable selection of the usual suspects: games, spirit level, Tube maps and flatulence simulators, all of which can be multitasked in slick fashion.
But what of the phone’s other features? Check under the bonnet and you’ll see that the Wi-Fi on board is plenty fast: along with b and g series, there’s n as well.
And this is a strong multimedia phone thanks to a decent 5MP camera sensor and LED flash. Not to mention a camcorder, which films strong 720p hi-def video.
In fact, if Apple hadn’t just launched its latest iPhone, which outdoes the Wave in most respects, it would probably be right at the top of the charts.
As it is, this phone is no slouch and should be taken seriously, although a bit more built-in storage would be good – you’re really reliant on microSD cards to store music. And some programs, like GPS, need a memory card in order to work.
Overall, the Wave is a charming smartphone, even if Bada has some way to go before it’s properly usable. If Samsung rustles up some impressive updates and encourages a rush of apps, the Wave and its Bada OS could yet earn a seat at the smartphone top table.