Random thoughts on Bada (vs. iOS)

UPDATE (08/23/2009 17:08 CET): I've posted a full article on the Windows Phone 7 Facebook problem HERE.

Original article:

I've continued (my previous article is HERE) discovering the brand new (beta) Bada 2.0 on the s8530 Wave II (along with 1.1 running on my S7230). Let me post some random remarks on Bada in general; Kies, the iTunes (knockoff) for Samsung phones and how the OS with its really cheap phones compares to other mobile OS'es (Android, WP7, iOS). The latter is of particular interest as you can get a used Wave I or II for the price of a brand new ZTE Blade – and, hardware wise, both Wave's are waaaay better, more reliable than the Blade. (Except for the less RAM.) For example, the quality of the camera recordings and shoots are just incomparable; so is the quality of materials used for the handsets. That is, if you don't want to purchase a low-end ZTE Blade (or, for that matter, a used iPhone 3G or 3G S) but would still want a (preferably) high-res phone, you will find the info (somewhat) useful on whether high-end but still cheap Bada phones are worth getting second-hand. Also note that the price of these phones will further (drastically) decrease now than Samsung announces the new Bada models on 09/01.

I post this in the iOS blog as the article, as usual, contains a lot of never-before-published tips and tricks on enhancing iOS (for example, how shots / videos / recordings should be transferred, how the iPhone can be used as a generic USB storage device etc.)

Some remarks

- the current internal beta crashes frequently and current third-party apps (e.g., GPSLoggerPro) don't (seem to) have access to the GPS

- the appstore of Bada is far inferior to that of Apple. Some why's:

a. you end up having to re-purchase all your apps on different devices. Say, you purchase an app on phone A and, then, try to re-purchase it on phone B using exactly the same Samsung account, you end up having to pay for the same app again(!). Unlike on Apple's AppStore, where you can freely re-download the same app on any (or, 10?) number of phones using the same(!) AppStore account.

b. I in no way could access the Samsung Store from the desktop computer. This is a generic bug of the current Kies (see e.g. THIS and THIS). Both threads have some tips and hacks to fight the problem.

c. the prices of games are generally higher than on iOS. For example, even the cheapest Gameloft titles cost about 1.5 times more (about 1.5 $US) than for iOS (0.99 $US). Speaking of Gameloft, I've purchased their Asphalt 5 to see how it behaves when compared to the iOS version. Of course, the latter was better and less stuttering; nevertheless, the Bada version (running on the beta 2.0 version of Wave II) wasn't that bad either.

- the Web browser is better than on Windows Phone 7, scripting compatibility-wise, but is still waaaaay slower than on iOS, even on slower models like the iPhone 3GS. For example, it supports dynamic FaceBook comments. For example, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13100693/html/ft2.html (created using THIS; additional info HERE) works under Bada (even under 1.x) but not under WP7. (Note that, in cases, you may need to tap the “View 4/2 more” link more than once for the changes to be seen.) The code making use of the synchronous loader (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13100693/html/ft.html), on the other hand, works just fine.

- Kies doesn't synchronize Web bookmarks, (under OS X,) notes (this is supported under Windows though – to Outlook) or email account info, unlike iTunes / iOS. This is a major problem! Needless to say, not even Bada 2 supports dynamic Web-based synchronization via, say, GMail, unlike Android (or, for that matter, iOS).

- still speaking of Kies, the currently available beta of the Mac version doesn't support any(!) of the WQVGA models released in 2010, “only” the higher-resolution ones.
- nevertheless, it has definite advantages over iTunes:

a. you can copy music from any number of desktop computers to your Bada handset. This is complicated on iPod touches / iPads and plain impossible on iPhones, unless you use third-party apps directly accessing the media files. What is more, you can not only do this from inside Kies, but via Explorer. You can even transfer complete subdirectories to your phone; everything will be discovered by the handset just fine. Again: unlike iOS, where you MUST use iTunes or one of the (very few) third-party synchronizer tools and in no way can directly copy music files to [/private]/var/mobile/Media/Music from inside a simple file copier tool.

Note that you need to explicitly select Mass storage mode to be able to access the file system of the device as a volume in Finder when connecting it to a Mac desktop. This doesn't need to be done on a PC (not even in a virtual box like under OS X), where the default Kies selection will also allow access to the file system. Also note that not even as of Bada 2.0 is the remounting bug fixed – you'll need to stop USB mode on the phone itself and can't do the same under OS X.

By the way, speaking of Mass storage mode, in this regard, Bada OS is (also) ahead of iOS, where it's fully impossible to make use of the entire(!) free space on the device (under Bada, both on the card and in the built-in storage). Actually, not even driver-less USB drive mode is supported on iOS; there, all you can do, should you want to use your phone as a mass storage device, is installing dmytro's USB Drive (developer blog HERE). Remember Softick Card Export for the Pocket PC? Well, the it's the same developer. Too bad it's REALLY slow (also see THIS) and it cannot use all the available storage – you'll need to allocate some storage only the app will see and use. That is, this storage space will be completely lost and invisible for iOS. Note that there are a lot of other Windows / OS X apps that can use (even non-jailbroken) iOS devices as mass storage devices but they all require iTunes to be installed, which isn't the case with, say, public PC's.

b. the OS supports To Do (Tasks) lists out of the box; so does Kies (see “Sync To Do with Outlook” on the Sync tab). Reminders have only been introduced in iOS5 and, currently, not even the latest beta of iTunes allows for synchronizing it with anything. On the other hand, iCloud does support it already (as of iOS5 beta6).

c. there is a direct way of copying photos / videos / voice recordings made / taken on the phone to your desktop (“Save to PC” or just access the phone via Explorer, without installing any third-party app, apart from Kies or at least the drivers). Note that simple dragging doesn't work here. It's much more complicated on iOS: you either

1. use a separate file system accessor app to directly access the directories these files are stored in (DCIM/100Apple and Recordings under [/private]/var/mobile/Media)

2. if supported, use an app with direct access to the resources; for example, the (in OS X) built-in Image Capture utility to transfer images / videos (but not voice recordings). Note that Image Capture has been introduced to OS X only in 10.5; under earlier versions, you'll need to use e.g. iPhoto. See for example THIS for more info.
Or, assuming you “only” need to access your voice recordings, let iTunes sync your music with the “Include voice memos” ticked in (which is done by default). Then, after synchronization, you look up the now-transferred voice memos under “Music”.

Kies' backup is even more encrypted than that of iTunes, where (unless you force iTunes to actively encrypt files) the “only” problem you'll encounter is the cryptic name of the backed-up files. Kies uses a single .SBU file for all separate backups. These files, on the first blick, seem to be a ZIP file. However, if you just rename them to a .ZIP file and decompress / browse it with, say, Total Commander, you'll notice a lot of the backed-up info is simply missing. Unfortunately, it seems there aren't ways of extracting everything from these files. All I know is how contact info can be extracted: see the Java app HERE (main thread HERE). It worked just fine for me with my 2.0 Wave II backups.

BTW, speaking of backing up in Kies, if you run it on the Mac in a Win box under Parallels, make sure you use a local (e.g., C:) drive for backup; otherwise, it'll just stop backing up, sometimes stating it has no disk space.

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<p>Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.</p>
<p>Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.</p>