LaptopMag has a pretty insightful interview with Ryan Bidan, product marketing manager for Samsung, and we can see what Samsung thinks about the Android ecosystem right now, and a bit about where they are going in 2012. One of the more interesting quote’s I saw from him was when he said that Android 4.0 implemented some features that were in TouchWiz first:

So what role does your TouchWiz software play in this dynamic and does it really add value?
Bidan: If you look between Gingerbread and Honeycomb and some of the stuff that we did on there with TouchWiz, a lot of those features are now part of Ice Cream Sandwich, so I think we’re definitely leading the way. The other piece for us is about creating an experience so that you have your choice in Android devices across multiple manufacturers, we want you to choose ours, not just because it’s the best hardware platform but also because we give you the best user experience.

This shouldn’t really surprise you, because something like this has happened before, but more importantly, it’s something that should happen with an opensource platform. Others get to use it, add improvements to it, and then the main developers of the platform can implement those improvements into the core version.

This is actually the main argument I would have pro-skinning Android, and it’s one of the beauties of an open source ecosystem. You get to see software evolution in action. The open source platform doesn’t depend on just one company to improve it, but on the entire ecosystem. And sometimes some improvements can come from the most unexpected places, and it could be something the main company developing the platform wouldn’t even think about in the beginning.

Samsung can lead the Android ecosystem in hardware, too, and we all know how well received their Super AMOLED display is, or their ARM chips. They are also the biggest Android manufacturers, and they keep introducing, what they think at least, are new device categories, like the Galaxy Note:

Your new Galaxy Note addresses content creation by adding pen functionality. Do you consider that device to be a tablet or phone?
Bidan: We’ve been pretty clear with the Galaxy Note, that we’re creating an innovative new category. And it’s a new category around personalized communication. You’re able to use the S Pen to really interact with your device in a much more analog way than we’ve been able to traditionally. It’s about getting back to that really tactile and personal communication method. We think there’s a huge amount of value in that.

One are where I think disappoint, and where Asus is already leading the way, is in making hybrid devices like the Transformer Prime. From what I gather they are not really interested in doing something like that right now, so we might not see a Transformer-like device from Samsung this year:

Is Samsung working on hybrid designs like the Eee Pad Transformer Prime that have optional keyboard docks?
Bidan: At the heart of it we’re all about choice. My standpoint on the mobile side is focused on the flexibility of portable designs, so very much staying true to the mobile roots. But if you look at the other side of our business, the way we’ve attacked it, like the Windows 8 slates, some of those designs and even the Series 9 notebook is a response to some of that. I think we’re going to continue to explore different input methods.

Make sure to check out the whole interview at the source.