Samsung Playing All Sides To Win « Velocity – Forbes.com

Samsung Playing All Sides To Win « Velocity – Forbes.com.

In the hyper-competitive wireless industry, cellphone makers tend to focus resources on one or two mobile operating systems, aiming to become experts. Consider Motorola’s devotion to Google’s Android mobile platform or Nokia, which is almost synonymous with the operating system Symbian.

Samsung, however, is bucking the trend. Though the Korean electronics giant just launched a flashy Google Android handset called Galaxy S, the company will continue to support a broad range of operating systems beyond Android, said JK Shin, president of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business.

That means a steady stream of Samsung phones that run on Symbian, Microsoft’s Windows Phone software, LiMo, a flavor of Linux developed by a wireless industry consortium, and Bada, an operating system that Samsung recently developed itself.

Shin contends that such breadth is necessary to keep Samsung, the world’s second-largest maker of cellphones, competitive. “If there is a market or customer that requires a specific operating system, we feel a responsibility to meet those needs,” said Shin in an interview at the CTIA Wireless trade show. “We are the only company in the world that supports this many [mobile] operating systems.”

Some of these phones may break cover soon. Shin confirmed that Samsung is working on a handset using Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 software. He also said Samsung is talking to U.S. carriers about carrying devices based on its Bada operating system. Samsung first unveiled the software, which is named after the Korean word for ocean, in February at a European trade show.

Samsung’s neutral stance extends to its networking and silicon businesses. Though many chip, device and infrastructure providers are picking hits between the next-generation (4G) wireless technologies WiMax and LTE, Samsung isn’t taking sides. “There has been some misunderstanding that Samsung is competent only in WiMax, but we are concentrating on both,” said Shin. “We want to provide everything from modem chips to software to base stations.”

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