O2 customers in Germany will soon be able to have Bada applications added to their phone bill, with another platform set to follow later in the year.
That other platform will no doubt be Android. In his speech at the Digital-Life-Design conference in Munich, O2 Germany CEO Rene Schuster did not detail the two platforms to be supported, but Bloomberg points out that support for Bada applications has already been promised – and Android is the obvious second choice.
The Bada platform is supposed to bring smartphone capabilities to feature phones, and while the first few Bada handsets have been priced well into the smartphone territory, they have been bought by users who will welcome the simplicity of operator billing.
Integrating the Android Marketplace will require more effort on the part of O2 Germany, as Google has little to gain from aiding the process, but with Android handsets getting cheaper, they are increasingly finding their way into less-technically-inclined hands.
Those hands don't want to muck about setting up Google Checkout accounts, or worry about passing credit card details to a third party (assuming they have credit card details to pass). So having the cost of an application added to the monthly bill, or deducted from the prepaid balance, might encourage them to buy some applications to the benefit of the whole industry.
Today's Android users do tend to download content, but Google wants to keep reminding people of the capability. Nokia is having a hard time educating users that their Symbian handsets are just as capable of downloading and running applications as an iPhone, and Google doesn't want to end up in the same place.
Samsung, meanwhile, is spending a fortune promoting its own answer to Apple's vertically-integrated iPhone model, with some success: reportedly achieving 1.3 million active users by September last year despite only offering one handset sporting the Bada platform (the Wave) and with minimal operator support. Samsung will, no doubt, be doing most of the work required to integrate its Bada store with the operator's billing system, but it still shows the platform may not die as quick a death as expected. ®