Re: standard Google behaviour, only hearing the echoes
"- it is abundantly clear that the current structure of Android makes it stupendously complex to create patches that reach back a few generations because that also involves 3rd parties such as phone providers for the modem code etc. My hope is thus that their patch will include a move towards a more layered model where there are not so many dependencies to address between the various parties."
It was abudantly clear from the moment Android launched in 2008. Literally every other major operating system back then already had online automatic updating available and was well esablished. Even Google's Chrome web browser had an update feature all the way back then.
It suggests that back then Google treated Android as some sort of toy, not really taking it seriously. They created an enourmous security problem for themselves and their users. Not very bright these Google engineers and businessmen; any ecosystem, including Android, is always one major security incident away from being dropped by its users like a hot potato. Where would Google's mobile search revenue be then?
Commercially speaking they handled Android pretty badly too. By making it possible for the Chinese manufacturers to take Android, de-Googlise it and make it their own there's a billion strong market that Google are missing out on. And they run the same risk too in India. If their intention was to make a platform to attract users to Google's ad ladden services, making that platform hijackable by other manufacturers / service providers seems like stupid idea...
Sure, as far as Google's shareholders are concerned Android has been terrific. However, it's nothing like as terrific as it might have been had they found a way to have full control over Android. Fortunately for Google shareholders mostly care about relative performance, and there MS have obliged by being woeful... That's very fortunate for Google for the following reason.
MS's basic model is a standardised hardware architecture that any manufacturer can make, allowing MS to push out standard binary blobs to all users for updates, etc. And that works, generally speaking. All Windows mobile phones get updates, just like Apple, BlackBerry, etc.
Had MS done a better job of making WinPhone appealling and done so a lot earlier, MS may well have very quickly turned it into a big and enduring success.
But they didn't. Google easily slotted into a good second place (profits-wise) behind Apple, meaning they could satisfy their shareholders. Being a poor third to Apple and MS would have lead to grumpy shareholders.