World No. 2 mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday it would launch its own open mobile platform in December as it tries to make up for a late start in the red-hot smartphone market.

Samsung and home rival LG Electronics, the world's No. 3 handset maker, have been scrambling to make a mark in a sector ruled by blockbuster high-end devices such as Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's RIMM.TO BlackBerry.

The name bada, which means ocean in Korean, was chosen to convey the limitless variety of potential applications which can be created using the new platform, Samsung said in a press release.

It also alludes to Samsungs commitment to a variety of open platforms in the mobile industry.

The platform's official website ( so far mostly lists upcoming bada-related events. It says bada's developer site will open in December.

Samsung is a little late to the game, so it may struggle to attract developers and operators to the platform in an increasingly crowded market, said Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.

Applications are becoming a key element for companies as more and more consumers base their purchases on the availability and variety of software offered.

Samsung already has an online store for its smartphone applications. [ID:nSEO1099] But its efforts pale in comparison to Apple Inc, which in September saw downloads from its iTunes applications store pass the 2 billion mark and has more than 85,000 apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Google Inc also runs an apps store for its Android mobile platform but has fewer apps than Apple.

Samsung and LG have so far relied on selling well-priced, solid phones with powerful cameras and snazzy keyboards, but little in the way of extra software and content.

According to the bada Web site, the first bada-powered mobile phone is expected to be introduced in the first half of next year. Sale of bada applications will start at the Samsung Application Store in the same period.

The Samsung Application Store will be available in about 30 countries including France, Italy and the UK in the second half of next year, the site said.

(Reporting by Marie-France Han; additional reporting by Tarmo Virki in HELSINKI; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)