Mobile climate change: Why Samsung, not Apple, is your best ecosystem bet

The world has changed: mobile users seeking the most innovative spectrum of products that all work together at a lower price need to look to Samsung.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Image: ZDNet

iPhone owners often tell me they continue to buy new iPhones because of the Apple "ecosystem". That may have been true a few years ago, but if you are seeking innovation and an exciting spectrum of products that all work together, then you need to look to Samsung.


A new Apple iPhone is likely going to be announced next month, with rumors indicating it will be very similar to the iPhone 6s, but it will not include a headphone jack. It may have some water resistance, a dual camera, and 1080p display resolution.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 7 arrives today, and with this device, we see the pinnacle of smartphone innovation. The Note 7 has a 2k display that has been tested and awarded the title of best ever smartphone display, with full water resistance, an advanced S Pen and associated software, numerous battery charging options including fast wireless technology, and the best camera found on a smartphone.

CNET Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is the sexiest large-screen phone ever

Samsung has also stepped up to the security plate to establish a track record of timely monthly Android updates, across all wireless carriers. It offers a pared down TouchWiz experience with software enhancements that improve the user experience rather than overwhelm and confuse.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has 64GB of internal storage with the option to expand that via an inexpensive microSD card. The Note 7 sells for $850 with the comparable iPhone 6s Plus selling for the same price, but without the option to expand that 64GB of storage.


The Apple Watch is an amazing smartwatch and leads the industry in smartwatch sales. The Samsung Gear S2 is also a fantastic smartwatch that offers more than the Apple Watch, including an integrated cellular radio. Next week we will see Samsung announce the rumored Gear S3 smartwatch, and it's sure to bring more innovation to your wrist.

It's debatable whether there will ever be a market for a smartwatch, but as phones get larger and we spend more time on our mobile devices than with our computers, it is likely more will find value in a companion on their wrists. Apple and Samsung, among others, continue to focus on the smartwatch, and we will not see either company give up anytime soon.

CNET Review: Samsung Gear S2 delivers a new spin on smartwatches


Apple's iPad is the leading tablet even though Samsung has a number of options with unique technology. The difference in success with tablets comes down to the operating system, and currently, iOS offers more on the big mobile screen for the end user than Android.

With iOS 10 though, Apple looks to be killing off support for long time iPad owners. Will these iPad owners look for another iPad, switch to an Android or Windows tablet, or not buy another one at all?

Samsung has pushed the tablet experience further than Google with the OS with S Pen integration and other technology, but tablets appear more as an afterthought for Samsung. A couple years ago, there was an overwhelming number of Samsung tablets, but today most would be hard-pressed to identify the current leading Samsung Android tablet.

We did see some innovation with the Samsung Galaxy View, and it appeals to cord cutters. However, an 18.4 inch tablet is not something everyone wants or needs.

CNET Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, a small and skinny tablet with a supreme screen

Virtual reality

There are rumors that Apple will be getting into virtual reality soon, but Samsung launched the Gear VR last year and has passed the one million mark already. I ordered the newest model Samsung Gear VR headset to use with my new Galaxy Note 7.

Everyone who comes over to my house and uses the Gear VR is stunned by the experience, even resulting in a few running out to buy one themselves. Virtual reality may not yet be a necessity, but there are opportunities to use it for more than gaming and entertainment.

As a professional naval architect, I could see using virtual reality to walk clients through ships we designed before any steel is ever cut at the yard. Samsung is leading the way in virtual reality for smartphones, and it is only going to get better.

Samsung Gear VR (2015) review:The best mobile VR experience so far

360-degree camera

The new Samsung Gear 360 just arrived for testing yesterday, and I will soon post my thoughts here on ZDNet. 360 degree cameras offer the full story when capturing different situations and locations, and I agree with Larry Dignan that there is an enterprise element to this technology.

We capture photos on ship decks so we can develop accurate modifications on vessels. With a 360-degree camera, we can capture what is commonly missed around the corner, behind a pump, or out of view of the traditional camera lens. 360-degree footage is also tied into the virtual reality experience.

The Samsung Gear 360 looks to be one of the best reasonably priced 360-degree cameras on the market and its unlikely we will see Apple get into this camera market.

Fitness tracker

The Apple Watch is a decent fitness tracker, but once again, we see Samsung offer more with the Gear S2. The new Samsung Gear Fit 2 offers more as well, including GPS, automatic sleep tracking, and IP68 water resistance.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 review:Samsung nails design, falls short on functionality

eBook reader

You can use your iPad as an eBook reader, but lately Samsung has been making the Barnes & Noble-branded Nook readers. These Nook eBook readers are similar to the Samsung Galaxy tablets with a UI focused on the reading experience.


Apple offers various desktop and laptop computers that are stunning. Samsung also offers various computing options, including Chromebooks and a powerful full Windows 10 tablet. Windows computers have improved significantly over the last couple of years and offer innovative hardware with a focus on sleek and solid design.

Samsung Chromebook 2 review: A stronger Chromebook in more ways than one

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