The product ecosystem is great, but it also has some serious downsides

When using devices from a single manufacturer, we can expect additional benefits. However, this is also a limitation.

Whether we like it or not, today hardly any company is focused on a single product when it comes to consumer electronics. If we talk about a manufacturer of smartphones, it is often also a manufacturer of tablets, smart watches, smart bracelets or headphones (and if we talk about Xiaomi, even backpacks, weighs -people, scooters, smart home systems, etc.). This doesn’t impress anyone today, and using a given manufacturer’s ecosystem is most often associated with a few additional advantages (especially if we are talking about Apple, whose products often lack certain functions , if combined with an Android phone). The appearance of all these products has made our life a little more comfortable. For example, data from a company’s watch and scale can provide more comprehensive health information and collect it in one place. On the other hand – thanks to the ecosystem, we can control many smarthome devices from one place, which further encourages us to buy them from the same company.

But I’ve been wondering lately – what if something doesn’t fit the ecosystem?

Many innovations in the world of technology have appeared because a producer decided to take the initiative to make something new, something different, something that was not available on the market today. This was the case with MP3 players or an iPhone, for example. With the appearance of these devices on the market, a number of support services have developed. Now, however, I have the impression that we are dealing with the opposite trend, namely – each of the major producers has developed its own set of services and adapts the product portfolio to the fact that users can use them. Such consideration came to me when I mentioned that if Apple would continue to produce the (modernized) iPod Classic, it would most likely be a hit in the market.

Such an iPod will not see the light of day, however, because it would conflict with what the manufacturer currently has in the ecosystem. You wouldn’t need Apple Music on it, it wouldn’t work with Apple Watch, and you wouldn’t install thousands of App Store apps on it. The competition (mainly Sony) shows that there is still room for high-end players. The difference is that Sony is still a company that focuses almost exclusively on hardware rather than the bundling of services around it, so its portfolio can be much more flexible. The second such manufacturer is, in my opinion, Asus, which often goes against market trends by producing really twisted devices, such as a gaming tablet with Windows. Niche? Yes, but also by pushing the limits of what was possible until now.

Unfortunately, however, it is clear that for the major manufacturers what matters is the scale of sales and new equipment, atypical or unsuitable for the product ecosystem, we see less and less of these major players. Of course, foldable phones may have variations, but those on the software support side are just… smartphones.

The second problem is to close the user of choice

A very prosaic situation – my wife and I want to choose a bathroom scale. The woman has a Samsung phone and, because she took advantage of the promotion, the company’s smartwatch. How can I get my good LG and Huawei Watch GT 2. Where is the problem? Well, when choosing, we found that since we already have such smart devices that automatically send pulse, calories burned, or workout information and then supplement it with body weight composition data (which cannot be entered manually), i.e. muscle mass, fat, water, etc. . will be an added bonus. The problem is that my wife has hers, and I have hers, a list of compatible weights, which in my case is pretty much limited to the manufacturer’s models.

In this case, we have the choice between buying two scales (a little absurd), or replacing all the accessories with those of a single manufacturer, or simply accepting that certain functions of a given device are unavailable for one of the parties. . This is, of course, a procedure to make the user spend even more money on the equipment of a given manufacturer and such a box in the ecosystem is nothing new, but it annoying, because it does not apply to most everyday applications. I understand that two personal devices (smartwatch and smartphone) can be paired exclusively, but even a bathroom scale is usually used by several members of the household. Imagine if Samsung produced a door lock that only owners of the manufacturer’s smartphone could open.

At the same time, the largest producer, Xiaomi, shows how to do it

It is undeniable that the Chinese company is the largest producer of home accessories, with even fans and ovens in its portfolio. And yet, they do not limit their operation only to their phones and anyone who installs the Xiaomi app can use all the features of all their devices. The same is true – company equipment often works closely with third-party applications. Yes, that means Xiaomi is not shutting down the user, but I think I prefer this approach to building my ecosystem.

And you? Do you prefer a closed garden or open cooperation between equipment from different manufacturers?

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