With the release of Android’s stock keyboard as a standalone application, Google adds one more application (previously simply bundled with certain phones and ROM’s) to the list that it maintains independently.
From the article:
More and more, Google is constructing an ecosystem in which manufacturers can keep making all the OS-level modifications they want — and yet Google can control and regularly update a meaningful part of the user experience with a direct-to-user path. And, as usual, you can decide whether you want to use the elements it provides or opt for third-party alternatives. It’s win-win for everyone.
In other words, you use the components you want and leave out what you don’t, while manufacturers get to customize the OS even more.
Of course, this is no less of a gamble – granted they gain control over the portions of the experience you (as a user) decide to tie to stock. But the power users that would see the benefit of this are increasingly rare percentage wise, and a truly clean, bloat-free experience will still necessitate rooting and ROMs, complete with the warranty voids that come with the territory. Apple has historically followed the opposite of this process – preferring well-integrated systems over risking incompatibility, at the cost of functionality.
In the mean time, though, this is good news – definitely something I can get behind – and even better if Google persists in this approach.