This doesn't say that manufacturers won't have their tweaks on phones they produce, just that it has to get approved through Google first. MotoBlur and Sense may be approved anyways.
I find this as good news, especially the fragmentation aspect.
First I just wanted to say I believe this is my first post even though I've been an avid reader of the forum for over a year when I got my OG Droid!
1. If Google makes it to where the UI's are either optional or can somehow be disabled I think that is a good thing. Some people love them, others loathe them. I personally would love to have vanilla android on my D2G. I actually wouldn't have switched to one had my OG Droid not been stolen from me by some low life while I was dancing.
2. If I remember correctly, I read sometime ago that Google would like to eventually move to where Android OS updates would be pushed out through the market almost in a modular form. This way if what would have been a traditional full update to the OS would have included say updates to texting, calendar, gallery, alarm clock, navigation, and blue tooth integration with a variety of functions and apps on the phone, but phone X could only support 5 out of those 6 "modules" as it stands today phone X would be left out and wouldn't get the update unless it was romed or rooted. With the modular approach that I believe I've heard Google wants to go to phone X would download and install the 5 "modules" its hardware specs could handle and thus be as up to date as possible until its hardware truly made it obsolete and unable to handle any of the latest upgrade modules. For this to work each phone would have to have a base Android OS that was free of anything extra like a manufacturers custom UI baked in that would require a custom baked OS update made by the manufacturer. The upside to this would be that every Android device that was capable of this type of modular update would be able to get it as soon as it was ready. No more waiting for custom made OS updates from the manufacturers for each model (which isn't always fool proof as I know of updates that have been halted after OTA updates have started being pushed out because they were crashing the phones and had to be rebuilt and re-released.).
3. It would prevent the bloatware that most people seem to despise from ending up on the phones in the first place.
4. It would prevent the carriers from locking down the phone and having any control over Android. If you don't think they want to control it you are in for a shock. I have a good friend who is a tech support supervisor for Big Red and if he is right (he has been everytime he's told me about changes to VZW policies, phones coming out, or OTA updates in the past) VZW has some nasty surprises in store for those of us with their phones. They basically want to neuter Android and turn our phones into as close to feature phones as they can be. Supposedly they are getting the manufacturers to include in their next update somekind of VZW anti-virus/protection app that will block the download and installation of non-VZW approved apps (most won't be approved), will prevent you from creating your own custom ringtones (if you want those you'll have to buy them through Vcast). All this in the name of protecting us dumb users who are too stupid for our own good and if left to our own devices would brick our phones. The truth is Big Red feels like it is missing out on revenue opportunities and they don't want to miss out on a chance to nickel and dime us some more. Google tightening their grip could prevent that!
5. Could Google abuse the heck out of this and go the way of Apple? Absolutely. Keep in mind though one of Google's core values/guiding principles is "don't be evil". I think they would consider going the way of Apple to definitely be evil. Does Apple have some good points? Yes, they make a good piece of hardware and their branding and messaging is extremely cohesive. Google has given us some a great OS to run some awesome phones that we love and which is what brings us to this forum, lets give them some benefit of the doubt until they give us a reason not to.
I would love to hear feedback on what everyone thinks about #'s 1-3. If anyone can back me up on #2 with either a link to that info or article thats awesome, and if I'm wrong about that please correct me.
Thanks everyone and hope I contributed some good to the conversation. :-)