If user interface is about how I interact with a device, is ecosystem about how the device interacts with itself?
I think so.
There's been much debate as of late, regarding what an ecosystem really means.
Is it about having more apps so more people are more likely to discover something they're interested in?
Or how well apps are optimized for the devices you use them on?
How is the experience for users across multiple platforms?
Surely, all of these have some importance and will vary from person to person, however, I think it's important to recognize that an ecosystem is something that should probably be assessed at the end of the day... not in the spur of the moment.
Were you able to accomplish everything you needed to?
What annoyances, if any, are recurring?
Was it in general a pleasant and productive experience?
I'm a Nexus fanboy, but I also like my Windows 7 laptop. Despite this, the big three (Apple, Google, Microsoft) all need to learn from each other.
Apple is top dog for providing excellent hardware for their operating systems. The reason I don't personally prefer Apple, is actually one of their strongest selling points. The simplicity of using a Mac, or an iPad/iPhone exceeds all others. Apple users never really have to think too hard about the logistics of using a computing device, and for many people that's a good thing - especially for children or the elderly. But it's not for everyone, and isn't as productive as I prefer.
Enter Android... the Nexus project was set up as a means for Google to establish a direct connection with its users. An uninterrupted, smooth flowing interface that wasn't hindered with third-party skins. Nexus devices fit nicely in the hand... they're powerful...attractive... and most importantly they represent the pinnacle of customizing the user experience.
Way back when BlackBerry's were still all the rage, I got a Pearl because of its size, trackball, and keyboard.... let's just say the hardware vastly exceeded the software.
Then I got an iPhone 3GS when it came out and devices were never the same for me. It was gorgeous, fast, useful, impressive, and really hooked me on mobile computing.
Then, after a couple of years I suddenly became exceedingly bored of it. For what it did, it worked very very well... I just felt left out. That's my biggest gripe with Apple - you get their service, their way, at their price... and they convince everyone that the alternatives are compromises in doing so. After selling my 3GS I decided to try WP7 (pre-mango) on the HTC Titan.
It seemed like such a radical departure from the grids of icons I couldn't resist. In reality, it was massive and awful and basic functionality that was lacking was too much coming from an iPhone, so I got rid of it after a week and picked up a Nexus S.
It was the perfect size, had a really nice curve to it, and Ginger Bread was great on it. When the Galaxy Nexus came out with ICS... I was hooked. I had it day one and it was amazing. A massive screen with a very fluid and minimalistic layout (thanks Matias) that just blew away the iPhone to me.
So, although I will admit I'm getting the Nexus 4 & 10 next week, I will say it really wasn't an easy decision.
Enter Microsoft. Windows 8 looks amazing to me, so much so I'm really considering buying it just to upgrade my current laptop, despite its lack of a touch screen. WP8 also looks really good, and I've probably watched the Lumia 920 unveiling half a dozen times now. However, the level of satisfaction my GNex currently offers is too much to turn down its next iteration (N4) which offers way more features, with gorgeous hardware, at an incredibly low price.
As far as tablets go, I've been looking for something to replace hauling my 17.3" 10 lb. gaming laptop to campus and back. Hence I've been extremely interested in Win8 slates. The ability to have Office RT is extremely useful, and I really dig the Metro interface. I thought about the Surface RT, it really does feel good in the hand... and a full size USB is super useful as well.However, all I really need it to do is browse the web. That's part of what makes an Intel Atom full Win8 tablet very appealing, such as the ThinkPad Tablet 2.
Running full Windows 8 is a big plus to me, although I'm curious to know how powerful the new Intel Atom Z2760 is. At the end of the day though, the thinnest, lightest, and highest-resolution tablet available also happens to be the most affordable, and runs an excellent OS I'm already familiar with and have great apps for.
Congratulations if you're still reading this... let's get the debate going, what's your ecosystem of choice and why?
If you liked the article, a recommendation would be marvellous :D