For smartphones, it isn’t just about the phone anymore. Sure, the phone is a big part of it, but it isn’t the whole show anymore. I’ve seen the word “ecosystem” pop up a few times recently, and it made me realize that I’ve made a few purchases in the past, and even very recently, based on not just the phone itself, but also the fact that I’ve invested so much time, effort, and most importantly money into the phone’s connected ecosystem. I’ve made connections to this train of thought in the past, but after seeing a few comments here and there, I think it’s starting to paint a pretty clear picture: some people won’t try new platforms, not in a realistic fashion, based entirely off the fact they’re invested in an ecosystem.

When Android launched, and for a long while after its launch, there wasn’t an ecosystem. You could buy apps from your phone and use them, yes, but that’s where it ended. Cloud services were being used, but they weren’t the huge rage that they seem to be now. So without the cloud, an ecosystem doesn’t really have a place, nor can it really survive in today’s market. But, as we’ve watched the little green ‘droid evolve, that ecosystem has flourished into something Android owners can genuinely be proud of, even if they don’t necessarily use services like Google Music, or dig their way into the PC-version of the Android Market. The ecosystem is there now, and there are plenty of people who have invested so much time, effort and money into that ecosystem, that jumping ship to another platform just doesn’t make sense.

I think this can be said of any platform, to be honest. While webOS is not the biggest ecosystem out there, I know people who purchased applications on webOS without thinking twice, because they loved the platform (still love it) and didn’t ever want to leave it. Now that there’s a huge question mark above the future of webOS (hooray for open source, right?), I’m wondering what is next for those people. The same goes for Windows Phone, which has so many great stand-alone services like Zune Music and Xbox LIVE gaming, that using a Windows Phone for just those things, and not necessarily as your primary phone, makes perfect sense. That’s all based on how much you’ve spent in that ecosystem, of course.

But I see the most talk about investment when it comes to those who have purchased Apple products. While these other platforms certainly have an ecosystem all their own, and people have thrown themselves into it, I notice that with Apple products like the iPhone, it is much more prevalent. And I think that has everything to do with the fact that Apple has invested so much time in the cloud on their end, and making a digital retail location for Apple-branded devices that not only allows access from each of these devices, but as well as accessibility.

People that I’ve spoken with have spent so much time within the Apple (walled?) garden that it isn’t about better opportunities out there, or other ecosystems. Most of these people will admit that other mobile operating systems, like Android and Windows Phone, have great features that they would love to use. But, it isn’t about that. It’s about the investment that they have made, and about the investment they will continue to make. There’s no denying that Apple makes it very easy to play media within devices in their own family, but the moment you try to disrupt that with other devices not from inside that garden, things get sketchy. These people who use an iPhone, but also own a MacBook Pro and Apple TV, aren’t just waving their hand at Windows Phone or BlackBerry because they hate those other platforms – it’s because they’ve spent so much money on their current ecosystem of choice that going to another platform, and spending so much money to make it work like it does now just doesn’t make sense.

And that, in and of itself, makes perfect sense to me. For me personally, I’m so spread out on every platform that I don’t think I can say I’m completely and totally invested in one over another. If I tried I could probably find out which platform has wrangled most of my money over the years, but I won’t do that, simply because my lack of a total and complete investment in one ecosystem means I can enjoy all of them without worrying about needing to enjoy one over another.

Do you buy a new phone based on the ecosystem? Or are you all about the phone itself? Let me know.

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37 Reactions to this post

"Do Android/iOS/Windows Phone's ecosystems matter to you?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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David Erwin
David Erwin Yes!!! How connected windows is, and more importantly, how connected its going to be come windows 8, is a huge selling point. Being a Windows Guy(I even owned the KIN!) Zune Pass is still by far the best for music IMO and how easily my focus s syncs with outlook, windows live, office, xbox, etc is absolute perfection. I love giving apple fans crap, but in the end, I firmly believe, if you own a mac, it makes sense to get an iphone. You just get more out of your device. So obviously, if you own a windows pc, you know what Ill be recommending LOL. Ive never really been a fan of android, but I do recommend it to those who love to mod/tinker with things. I dont so i would never get one...
Meagan Ferguson
Meagan Ferguson Price and comparability is what I look for. I will choose an os that I can sync with many different computers and devices. Thats why I chose android. Google works with almost evertthing. And thats the only reason I dint like apple. Apple is not compatible with anything and or idly worth the price to go all mac.
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie Loved Android since the G1 saw a comparison on TV with iPhone preffered G1 never really liked the way any of the IPhones looked as they all looked the same also the.fact ios is only on one manufacturers phones.au there's one price is a bit unfair after all would ios on a Samsung or HTC phone look and work better?
Eduardo Ordaz
Eduardo Ordaz Love Android. Its So cool. Keeps me entertained and happy. I could spend hours customizing it.
Stace Barto
Stace Barto Yes they do.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @ Haldi- No they aren't
Namkell Kelly
Namkell Kelly Not really..I don't buy music,thanx to bit torrent..
Haldi Kuniqi
Haldi Kuniqi iPhone's are the best phones out there- coming from android
Reece Beaulaurier
Reece Beaulaurier Not really i love them all as long as i have a fast nice phone to run them.
Brad Haislip
Brad Haislip I'm waiting on my iPhone 4s to get here I'm finally going to try iPhone I'm leaving Android
Daniel Kallini
Daniel Kallini Ofcourse I get my movies and music from 3rd party sources I don't but them. But for apps I stick to the android market un less they don't have it.. then I get it from file sharers
Murtaza Rzv
Murtaza Rzv Yes
Hansel Starley
Hansel Starley I'm currently very deep in Microsoft's ecosystem, I have a WP7 laptop, an Xbox and a Windows phone.
Tyler Charles Christopher
Tyler Charles Christopher Yea I tryed most of them.blackberry os,multiple versions.then android.then windows phone7.I'm android man.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline It's the best for you. I would probably get bored with it as fast as I did with the iPhone 4s. Had it a month before I switched back to android. I like to be able to do whatever I want with my device and not have it dictated for me.
Tung Nguyen
Tung Nguyen As an IT administrator yes. One ecosystem is easier to manage then multiple. As a user no all the ecosystems have their flaws and advantages. I just want the smartest smart phone.
Edgar Emanuel Rivera Rojas
Edgar Emanuel Rivera Rojas I'm just saying that I just love Windows Phone,is the best OS right now,and I was an Android user but I swicht for a Windows Phone and I am proud of it
Zach Cline
Zach Cline A lot of people apparently
Kenny Yusuf
Kenny Yusuf who cares
Robert Simmons
Robert Simmons I recently switched from outlook to google app's gmail. I feel like I get stuff done much faster within gmail then outlook. with that being said though I have ran into a lot of software add ons for gmail that conflict. also I have a sensation and it's a great phone but after 3 years google can't get android right it's still very buggy beta like software. I am hoping ice cream runs smoothly on the sensation
Ziggy Torres
Ziggy Torres I like that you can use different Eco Systems with Android. I can use Double Twist for itunes music. Amazon for books n music n now Google music. Which ever store has cheaper deals is the one that gets my money. Unlike Apple what ever price they ask for is the price you have to pay.
Cristian Tomasito
Cristian Tomasito Pretty much yes, I have windows 7, windows phone 7 and xbox 360. They all integrate flawlessly.
Jordan Brown
Jordan Brown Yes. I'm in the iOS ecosystem and I'm locked in now because of how seamlessly I can share my content among other devices. If I was to switch to say, an Android for example, I'd lose all my apps that I've either paid for or by some other means acquired.
Baron Crandall
Baron Crandall Once Google music dropped I've made the switch to full Android. Was using Zune for my music before.
Robert Centennial
Robert Centennial They do android and iOS and very similar but wp7 is different it's fresh.
Hubert John Abiera
Hubert John Abiera I really like iTunes for buying music, but I use the Zune Software to do the actual sorting of my music. I like combining ecosystems so I don't get tied down to one.
Chuk Anyanetu
Chuk Anyanetu anyway no, while eco systems are convenient, if I do not like a product I will not stay with it because of the eco system.
Pedro Costa
Pedro Costa Yup
Matt Henson
Matt Henson Andy baby!!
Andrew Qi Wen
Andrew Qi Wen Every design is a tool for us to communicate faith, hope and love. If we will mentor our children and not allow them to be mentored by strangers who just seek more cash for more things, less relationships, more fun, and less compassion.
Zanzi Ok
Zanzi Ok No
Shin Wolf
Shin Wolf yes!!! Ios for my music. And android for my cellphone
Khalil Antonio
Khalil Antonio Android market is the best. Its hard not having it.
Brian Fuller
Brian Fuller eco system is everything, a strong ecosystem makes it a lot harder to swtich platforms. If i get all of my media from google, i have no use for iTunes or vice versa
Julio Julio
Julio Julio Yes!!!!!
Tony Burgess
Tony Burgess I am loving the Android platform having come from BlackBerry.
David Rushing
David Rushing Matt Henson is.

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