Flashback: Samsung S8500 Wave, the first phone with Super AMOLED and the first with Bada OS

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Do you know which was the first phone with a Super AMOLED display? Some of you may have answered “the original Galaxy S”, but it isn’t – if you read our story about OLED screens in mobile phones, you’ll know it was the Samsung S8500 Wave, which beat the Galaxy S in the market in two months.

At the time, we called it a

Back then we called it a “modest retail package” – if only we knew what was to come.

Or maybe you answered correctly because you still remember the Wave phones and the operating system they were running – Bada (Korean for “ocean”). It was a precursor to Tizen, the operating system that runs on Samsung smart TVs today and was also a major part of the company’s smartwatches (although that appears to have ended with the Galaxy Watch4 series. , which has moved to Google’s Wear operating system.).

Meet the Samsung S8500 Wave - the first phone with a Super AMOLED display
Meet the Samsung S8500 Wave - the first phone with a Super AMOLED display

Meet the Samsung S8500 Wave – the first phone with a Super AMOLED display

Let’s go back a bit. Maemo was a Linux-based operating system for mobile devices (“Internet tablets” and smartphones) developed by Nokia. Intel had a similar system called Moblin. Then the two tech giants decided to combine their efforts in MeeGo (which is part of what made the Nokia N9 great).

But then Nokia ditched Intel to pursue other love interests (you know that one). So Intel and others – Samsung among them – started the Tizen project as a sequel to MeeGo. Samsung had its own Linux-based operating system at the time, Bada, which was finally merged with Tizen in 2013. The company has been Tizen’s primary user ever since. The linux-based mobile operating system family tree is complicated to say the least.

The Wave was a beautiful phone
The Wave was a beautiful phone
It even had 3.5mm jacks and camera buttons
It even had 3.5mm jacks and camera buttons

The Wave was a beautiful phone • It even had 3.5mm jacks and camera buttons

Back to wave S8500. Other than the operating system, it looked like a smaller Galaxy S. It ran on the same Hummingbird chipset (1.0 GHz Cortex-A8 processor), a first Samsung chip earlier than the Exynos line. The phone had the same 5 MP camera with autofocus and 720p video recording, same the same 1500mAh battery.

The screen was smaller, 3.3 inches, than that of the Galaxy S (4.0 “), although it had the same resolution – 480 x 800 px. As on the Galaxy, this screen benefited from the protection of the First generation Gorilla Glass.

And while we’ve seen AMOLED displays before, this one was special. With no space between the screen itself and the protective glass (that’s part of what made it “Super” AMOLED), the entire interface seemed to float on the surface of the glass. The screen had vivid colors and true blacks, of course. Here it is compared to some top competitors:

The first Super AMOLED display was very promising
The first Super AMOLED display was very promising
The first Super AMOLED display was very promising
The first Super AMOLED display was very promising

The first Super AMOLED display was very promising

The Wave and Galaxy S may have been running different operating systems, it wasn’t immediately obvious – both were skinned with TouchWiz, the user interface that Samsung has used for most of its phones (at start with its touch-enabled phones). The hardware was similar enough that industrious developers managed to get Android to work, up to 4.4 KitKat (2013). Even the Galaxy S itself officially only hit 2.3 Gingerbread.

TouchWiz made Bada and Android the same
TouchWiz made Bada and Android the same
TouchWiz made Bada and Android the same
TouchWiz made Bada and Android the same

TouchWiz made Bada and Android the same

Notification nuances and quick toggles are cool in any operating system
Notification nuances and quick toggles are cool in any operating system
Notification nuances and quick toggles are cool in any operating system
Notification nuances and quick toggles are cool in any operating system

Notification nuances and quick toggles are cool in any operating system

As for the official Samsung software versions, the Wave was updated to Bada OS 2.0 in late 2011 with a completely redesigned user interface and full multitasking. Bada 1.x was able to multitask (it’s Linux, after all), however, it limited third-party applications to only running one at a time (a saving feature energy). Version 2.0 lifted this restriction.

Since it didn’t run on Android, Symbian, Window Mobile, or any of the other established operating systems, Bada needed an app store. And he had one, Samsung Apps. When we looked at the original Wave, the store only had 60 apps (all free), although Samsung promised to increase that number to 100 when the phone launched.

The Bada OS application selector
The Samsung app store for Bada software
The Samsung app store for Bada software
The Samsung app store for Bada software

The Bada OS application switcher • The Samsung application store for the Bada software

The lack of apps was also a major problem for Windows Phone, Microsoft’s misguided offer to remain relevant in the smartphone segment. If your platform doesn’t have apps for major social media, instant messaging, streaming, and other popular services, then it’s dead in the water.

Lessons learned. Now feast your eyes on some photos we took with this 5MP camera on the Wave. The phone had a camera key that launched the app and could be used to take a photo (but no focus, however, it was a one-step button).

Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras
Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras

Examples of Samsung S8500 Wave cameras

And here’s a sample video – the Wave had one of those early 720p capable cameras. Not the best, but needed as the world moved from SD to HD:

While Samsung released several other Wave phones (including the Wave II and Wave 3, as well as low-end models), the end came quickly for Bada – the last launch was in 2011, less than two years old. after the first.

The Samsung S8500 Wave was the first of its kind - unfortunately its genre didn't last very long
The Samsung S8500 Wave was the first of its kind - unfortunately its genre didn't last very long

The Samsung S8500 Wave was the first of its kind – unfortunately its genre didn’t last very long

A little later, the Samsung Z series was launched with the new operating system Tizen, the successor to Bada. That too fizzled out, the Samsung Z arrived in 2014 and the latest Tizen phone, the Samsung Z3 Corporate Edition, launched in mid-2016. And that’s all she wrote.

Of course, Tizen continued to be used in smart TVs and smartwatches from Samsung, but after years of testing, the company found that it didn’t really need a smartphone operating system. alternative to Android.

In fact, in 2019 TouchWiz, the symptom that Samsung uses too many phone operating systems, was eliminated in favor of One UI – the only real software for Samsung phones. Even Nokia’s criminal partner Microsoft has learned the lesson that a good Android skin is worth more than a proprietary operating system. Now Samsung and Microsoft are working with Google to implement some exciting new features for Android (especially for foldable and dual-screen phones).


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