Can Google be an alternative to the Apple ecosystem?

The entry point into Apple’s ecosystem is hardware. For the majority of Apple users, it is the iPhone. Then they would buy MacBook, iPad and so on. People buy Apple products because of the software, which seamlessly works together without any effort.

From syncing of files and photos to seamlessly messaging in any of the devices, all the apple products work together as one cohesive device.

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During every Apple event, Apple reminds its users and the potential users that no other company can come closer to match their integration between their devices as it has full control over the hardware and software of its products. Apple has built a walled garden for themselves and the wall is getting higher with the introduction of each product and service.

I was wondering, what it would look like if someone has to shift overall to another ecosystem. Is there any alternative to Apple’s Ecosystem?

After some deliberation of looking out the alternatives. I believe Google has everything (hardware, software, and services) to come close to Apple.

Hardware:

Do you remember the time when Google started releasing phones under Nexus brand? These phones were not actually Google-made instead they were the altered versions of a phone of the Hardware partners (LG, Samsung, Huawei, Motorola), which was already in the market. The biggest difference between these phones and Nexus was that Nexus used a pure virgin version of the android, which was free of any bloatware and proprietary skins of OEMs.

Later after launching several iterations of Nexus phones Google finally decided to take control over its hardware products. Then released the first Pixel phone in 2016. This was Google’s own phone from hardware to software.

Like Apple, For Google users, Pixel phones is a starting point. Google is continuing to refine the user experience and build an ecosystem of the products revolving around it.

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Pixel line up not only includes phone, but it also has a pixel slate tablet, Pixel chrome book, pixel wireless buds.

Although Pixel line up does not have Pixel watch, pixel Speakers, and pixel TVs. There many other alternatives in the market, which uses Google’s OS, which works, as good as if it is a Pixel product

If you want to get into Google’s ecosystem and you need to start with the hardware. With the current state of Google’s product and services it would look something like below:

Phone: Pixel 4 or Pixel5

Computer: pixel book

Smartwatch: Fitbit, fossil watch, galaxy watch

Earbuds: Pixel buds, galaxy buds (there are lot of alternatives available in market for every price range)

Smart speaker: Google Home, Google home mini or Google Home Max

Smart home hub: Google Smart home

TV streaming: Android TV or Chromecast

I have included some of the Non Google made devices in the above table because all these products are made keeping google or android users in mind.

Software:

Unlike iOS and macOS, Google’s current ecosystem includes Android and Chrome OS. Initially, these two OS were independent of each other but now Google has begun to integrate both.

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Google started this process first by adding the ability for Chrome OS to run the android apps managed by the play store. This means you can use the same Tik Tok app that you use on your phone on your chrome book or a tablet.

Google recently added a feature called “Better Together” to Chrome OS. When you enable this feature, you can send or receive text messages from your chrome book. You can also auto-unlock your chrome OS device when your android phone is nearby and you can also do instant tethering with your phones as a hotspot when WIFI isn’t available for your chrome book.

The best and quickest way to take advantage of all these features is by using Google’s own hardware. As when Google updates the features the first ones to receive the updates is Google, own hardwares.

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We are not discussing the issues of android fragmentation here. As we all know that this was big issue at one time but as the years passed on the gap is reduced.

Services:

We saw the Software and hardware of Google were sticking together to some extent. But what binds these two together is Google’s services.

Google pioneers in this area and these google services make hardware and software stick together and increase the value of Google’s ecosystem.

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The tight integration between services like Gmail, Google search, Google pay, and Google assistant on your phone helps you to keep up to date on the happenings.

Google Photos back up and syncs your photo library for free for now. YouTube music is one the best in the industry and for podcasts, Google podcasts sync your listening history and status across all of your Google linked devices.

Google Drive, Docs sheets, and slides offer more storage, syncing, and work across all platforms with minimal effort.

The only area where Google is lacking in the services is its messaging service. It does not mean Google does not know how to make it. In fact, Google tried it many times with different names but due to their sheer lack of focus, they could not improve it.

In its defense, Google has now taken the initiative to push RCS messaging across all carriers and hardware partners.

RCS stands for Rich communication services and adds features like read receipts, typing indicators, high-resolution images, and similar features to what we can find in Facebook Messenger and iMessage. Although this RCS messaging is still fragmented, it is going to take a while for all carriers to adapt it as a standard.

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Finally, when we combine all of Google’s service with Google’s hardware and its frequently updated software for recreating the same type of ecosystem that Apple for now claims is only possible with Apple, is indeed possible outside the Apple.

Although we admit there some nuances and caveats like using galaxy watch or fossil watch, messaging but overall Google’s ecosystem is a capable one.

In all of the above, we have not considered the cost of owning and continuing in a particular ecosystem. If we consider those, I guess Google’s ecosystem will be the viable and best competitor to Apple.

What do you think? Is there something, which I missed? Or do you have any other viable Ecosystem apart from Google that could compete with Apple? Let me know in the comments below

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