Originally Posted by ari-free
For example: making sure everyone gets timely updates, control over carrier bloatware, etc.
Trouble is, that's the model Google have chosen - they let the manufacturer customise it, and the manufacturer lets the network add their trash. Manufacturers see their changes as a way of differentiating their products, so while Goo said that skins would not be needed, Samsung, HTC, Sony et al ignored them. And network junk is the price the manufacturers (not Google) pay to get their phones adopted rather than someone else's.
So if you want timely updates, buy a Nexus (or root and do it yourself). There's a reason I don't buy phones through networks, but not everyone is in a position to do that.
If people want an example of Apple innovation, telling the networks "if you want our phone it will be with our software" was probably their best
But which manufacturer is strong enough to copy it? Google have shown that they aren't able to enforce that.