Mention a robust ecosystem from a tech brand, and it’s easy to identify one that makes its own hardware, software, and applications and gets them working. But when it comes to Samsung’s push towards one ecosystem to benefit users, it’s not merely about doing what you’re good at and comfortable with and expecting everyone else to rise to your level, but working with partners to boost the platform and build a cohesive ecosystem that users can enjoy, and brands can have a share in.
That’s the job of Park Junho, Samsung’s P, Vice President of Galaxy Eco Product Planning, who was first brought on to work on Samsung’s wearable watch division, but has seen his role elevated over the years, to now establishing a unified ‘ecosystem’ that Samsung is still trying to cultivate.
And there’s no greater partner on the front than Microsoft. While Google is the primary shepherd of Android, its family of devices isn’t the most varied. Just look at how the Pixel / Chromebooks compare to the rest of the competition. Windows, on the other hand, is getting a second wind with its resurgence in AI, but without a flagship mobile phone to complement its base, it’s missing out on a key component for the modern user, which Samsung is more than happy to fill.
“To our customers, it doesn’t matter if it’s Windows or Android. What matters is what their overall experience is. While there are limitations between OS platforms like Windows and Android, our teams are having deep discussions with them on how to create a seamless experience for our customers from an end-user point of view.”
Between both Samsung and the folks at Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest software and hardware maker, Park is quietly confident that given time, the collaboration between both companies will become more robust.
“We are expanding on the connection between Android and Windows devices, and we believe that it will become better in a year’s time.”
Meanwhile, his own team is also looking at a blended family of devices that not only encompasses mobile devices and fitness trackers, but also televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators. There is some headway, and the company’s confidence stems from the fact that they are one of the few in the world to have merged several devices as one. Or, at least trying to make an attempt to do so.
A good example of this in action is how Samsung has placed greater focus on Multi-Control which was quietly launched in February 2023. The Multi-Control feature allows users to pair their Samsung devices together and have them transfer files or even extend the screen of paired devices. For example, this means a Samsung S23 Ultra is able to drag and drop files to a Samsung Tab and allows users to work on editing an image on a bigger screen before dragging it back to the phone again and having it sent as a text message. This feature is not entirely new, as the company deployed an earlier application known as SideSync, which has since been replaced by Samsung Flow, another feature that does the same thing, and more.
Hence, there no denying that when consumers look at Samsung products, they tend to be individualistic in nature – phone, watch, tablet – and aren’t necessarily known to be the parts of a whole. The most cohesive we’ve seen with all devices come together would be during the launch of new devices, like the recent Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Samsung Galaxy Fold 5, Galaxy Watch 6, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 devices.
“To the customer, when they pick up one device, they are more conscious of the overall ecosystem and what is its value. And they know not all of it is brand new, so what’s the draw?”, mused Park.
“Our overall goal is to be able to show the value of joining the Samsung ecosystem and delivering the full experience continues to be our mission and challenges. We will continue to deliver that message to our customers.”
At this point in time, we’re starting to see a pattern of how Samsung has been looking to integrate its devices to play well with one another, but having a multitude of apps and updates can naturally create confusion among the general user. It’s definitely something that Park and Samsung are cognizant of and his overall goal is focused on the overall user experience and how it impacts the adoption of the Samsung ecosystem as a whole.
But despite all the talk about working well with others, Samsung has made some decisions that are seeing less cross-company support. While a smartwatch has become key to the ecosystem approach, Samsung dropped support for Apple iOS when it migrated off the Tizen OS in favour of Google’s Android WearOS for their line of Galaxy Watches in 2021. While Park had hoped for the Galaxy Watches to be compatible with Apple devices, it was the overall consumer experience that was suffering as a whole, and Park explains that it was not due to Samsung’s lack of effort.
“With the Apple ecosystem, we will not be able to deliver the same experience because of limitations. There’s a heavy dependency on the phone side so we were not able to deliver the best experience with our watch.”
As most would know, Apple guards its turf with great fervor and it’s only natural considering that they have their own line of smartwatches.
“With Samsung Health, it is available to all other Android devices so customers can enjoy our watch but we realized that we cannot deliver the same experience on other platforms which is why we stopped providing iOS support,” explained Park rather matter-of-factly.
While the door on Galaxy Watch compatibility is closed on Apple for the moment, Park still remains optimistic for the future and what it means for the Samsung ecosystem as a whole. When asked what would the future possibly looked like, Park simply pointed to “Ready Player One”, referencing the book and movie which involves an immersive digital world where everyone is constantly plugged into.
“Everything I feel, I see, I can describe. So in the future, everything that takes place in the movie will be realized. We’re working on meeting the customer’s expectations. Stay tuned.”
Could this be a hint that Samsung is working on reviving its previous Gear VR headset, to rival Apple’s recently announced Vision Pro headset?
We’ll see how this goes in the next chapter for Samsung.
Gerald currently straddles between his love of video games and board gaming. There’s nothing that interests him more than trying out the newest and fanciest gadget in town as well. He dreams of publishing a board game sometime in the future!