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My take on Google future direction
For the short term (next couple of years give or take).
I think we've either hit or are hitting a threshold where OS development is hitting a soft cap for a short term and Google has recognized this. The phone makers are simply incapable of keeping pace with a fast paced update cycle, as is evident with the number of devices out there still running 2.3. Rather than full-out OS updates, it appears Google is cutting down the pace and switching over from major OS updates to updating its services instead. The approach they seem to be taking is that rather than continuing to release an entire new OS update every year, they're choosing to update the apps within the OS itself.
Since Google can simply update its core services like Search, Google Now, Maps, Google+, Youtube, Gmail, Music, etc then this way they can update ALL Android Jellybean phones in essence - at the same time with no need to go through OEM and carrier testing and delays. I emphasized that because I think this is the root core of Google's short term future model. In a way, now that Google has placed all of the services it wants on Jellybean phones, they can continue to "update" the OS in this manner rather than actually updating the OS itself in major ways. This allows all of the 2012-2013 Android phones to catch up and become more or less the same on the software side, and is how I think they plan to combat the OS fragmentation issues.
If Google can successfully keep Android updated through Google Play rather than actual OS updates that will allow them to slow down the update cycle of actual full updates to the OS itself. The reason I think this is their intent right now isn't any flash of insight by me, they seem to already have said things to this effect themselves over the last year as well as at I/O this week. I also think this is why we're not hearing anything about KLP at I/O either. I think this can work - as long as the competition don't do anything to drastically upset Google's current lead in how much you can currently do with an Android over other OS's. That's why I think this is Google short term strategy going forward, it allows them a pause of sorts to get things more consolidated before they tackle anything major a year or more from now.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it and we'll see KLP come out with a bunch of significant innovations before the end of this year, but currently it appears to be doubtful.