It sucks to say this but it wasn’t unexpected. After reading this lengthy article from Ars Technica, it’s clear that Google is finishing up what it intended; to firmly place its software and enhancements ahead of the community and completely rejecting its initial stance of providing a state of the art AOSP code base. Technically, the code for most projects as mentioned in the link have gone to abandon ware state, which is enough to make one wonder if using “stock” Android is going to be a viable thing nowadays. Unknowingly, we’ve become subject to a similar walled garden issue that most iOS and OS X users (willingly) subject themselves to. The image from the Ars Technica link below shows Samsung replacing Google in order to give users a life outside of Google.
For a person who just uses Android for the hell of it, this is actually more of a blessing than anything else. This allows Google to build better versions of the core applications and ensure delivery of these updates across the devices that are powered by Google Play. However, devices like Samsung’s future release of the Galaxy line and other vendors that aren’t part of the Open Handset Alliance (aka Google’s little handset kingdom) aren’t going to be able to provide users with these niceties and thus have to resort to either hand building applications from AOSP or moving to another platform.
This is where things like Ubuntu Touch and Plasma Active come into play. These are purely open operating systems for mobile devices and they’d work anywhere Debian Linux can. But hey, a guy can only dream!