Samsung launches Bada phones with ChatOn service

Samsung Electronics has introduced three new smart phones based on its own operating system Bada, including the new flagship model Wave 3, which includes a software client for the company’s new messaging service ChatOn, Samsung said on Tuesday.

The Wave 3 has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera with a LED flash. The camera can also shoot video at 720p. The phone connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi (802.11b, g or n) or HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access), downloading data at up to 14.4M bps (bits per second) and uploading at up to 5.76M bps.

Unlike Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy smart phones, the Wave 3 has a metal case.

The smart phone runs Bada 2.0, which adds support for Wi-Fi Direct, a technology and certification mark managed by the Wi-Fi Alliance that allows compatible devices to connect directly to each other to share content.

The Wave 3 also contains an app to connect to ChatOn, a service that allows users to chat with their friends and colleagues. It is free and will be available across all major smart phone operating systems, as well as tablets and laptops, according to Samsung. Features include content sharing and the ability to send messages to a group of users. The Interaction Rank feature allows users to see how often they communicate with their contacts.

Samsung will also make available a basic ChatOn client for feature phones, which will include image sharing.

The roll out of ChatOn will start in September.

The Wave 3 will cost about 2,800 Swedish kronor (US$445) without taxes and subsidies, and start shipping around the end of the year, according to Samsung in Sweden.

Besides Wave 3, Samsung has also announced the Wave M and Wave Y, which are also based on Bada 2.0 and have NFC (Near-Field Communications) as an option. All three will be on display in Samsung’s booth at IFA 2011 in Berlin. ChatON will be demonstrated at the consumer electronics show, as well, according to Samsung.

Bada has been a moderate success for Samsung. With sales of about 2 million phones it became the fifth-largest smart phone operating system during the second quarter, surpassing Microsoft’s Windows Phone, according to market research by Gartner Research Inc. The jump to fourth spot, where BlackBerry OS sits, is at about 10.5 million units.

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