Does ecosystem play a part in your mobile OS of choice?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Most people who regularly visit PhoneDog are, for the most part, no strangers to smartphones. In the United States particularly, you're more than likely using one of four platforms. You've got Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone to choose from for the time being. With each OS comes their own intricately made ecosystem, from the apps that they host to the programs they choose to pre-install for you. With each platform being so different from one to the next, it's probably tempting to jump from one to the next each time an upgrade opportunity rolls around. That being said, it's not exactly all that easy, especially if you're like most people and are stuck with a certain phone for the better part of two years.
You might find yourself stuck in one ecosystem.
It might sound silly, but after spending all of that time on one platform it's fairly easy to find yourself somewhat attached to a platform. It might be the services they use or the applications you've purchased, but if you're anything like me there's probably a few choice apps that are only available on certain platforms rather than others, and switching to something else might not necessarily be beneficial to your everyday life. Even if you really wanted to switch, certain common factors like "lack of apps" and hardware design don't really matter compared to the trouble it would be to throw away everything you've built and purchased the past couple of years.
For me, I'm fairly certain I'm trapped within the Google ecosystem.
Well, I shouldn't say trapped. It's not that I'm suffering - I like Google. And I'm thankful that I at least have two different platforms to choose from, since iOS and Android both have nearly full support of Google Apps, which I use both for work and personal use. Both my work and personal e-mail run through Gmail, I have purchased a ton of applications and a few movies from the Play Store, most of my bookmarks are saved in Chrome, a lot of my friends use Hangouts and I have a lot of addresses saved in Maps. Not only do I have a lot already invested in these applications, but I am also most familiar with them. Not to say that I couldn't get familiar with something else, but I would at least like the option of going back to Google apps if I didn't like the alternative.
Google apps is probably why I wasn't exactly hesitant to switch to iOS. I knew that there were designated Gmail, Maps and YouTube apps. Later the Hangouts app was supported as well. That being said, I also have a fair bit invested in applications I've purchased in iOS as well. But for the most part, it's the fact that the software I use most is available on both platforms.
I imagine other people feel the same way about BlackBerry or Windows Phone as well. With Windows Phone being run by Microsoft, also a company that is well known for computer software, people who often use Office or XBox Live would probably take that support over something like a bigger app store any day. The same could be said for people who have built (and maintained) a relationship with BlackBerry's services and software. Even if the platform isn't what it used to be, it can be a difficult task to leave all of that behind, particularly if you've been using a platform for more than a couple of years. I can only imagine how hard it would be for people who had been using BlackBerry or iOS since the beginning to move on to something else.
On the other hand, it might be just as easy for some people to switch if you get so fed up with a platform you just can't stand to use it anymore.
Readers, what has your experience been regarding switching platforms? Have you found yourself stuck with a certain platform's ecosystem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!