Samsung has launched its brand new cellphone operating system, named Bada, at the Mobile World Congress. The first handset is the Wave, a rather sleek-looking sliver of glass that is all screen.

The handset sports a 3.5in, 800 x 480 OLED touchscreen. While Bada runs behind the scenes, users interact with the third incarnation of Samsung's established TouchWiz UI.

With bada, Korea-based Samsung is taking the TouchWiz system used on its touch-screen non-smart phones and making it the basis of a smart phone platform to take on iPhone and  BlackBerry.

J.K. Shin, the president of Samsung's phone division, said the goal of bada was to expand the market for smart phones, making them available to people across the world who have made do with non-smart phones.

Samsung promised that TouchWiz will fly on the Wave's "high-speed processor", though it didn't say what chip in particular the phone incorporates

To support the Wave and existing phones using TouchWiz, Samsung is launching online applications stores in 50 countries this year, including the U.S. Most major phone makers now operate applications stores, or make phones that use stores administered by others, like Google.
 
 
 
According the a report by the Associated Press, the number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide has reached 4.6 billion and is expected to increase to five billion this year, the U.N. telecommunications agency said Monday.

Mobile phone providers in rich countries offer advanced services and handsets, while people in developing countries increasingly use the mobile phone for health services and banking, said the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


"Even during an economic crisis, we have seen no drop in the demand for communications services," ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said in a statement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry's biggest trade show.

ITU also said the number of mobile broadband subscriptions would exceed one billion this year after reaching 600 million in 2009.