Ben Evans suggests that Nexus phones are like the “ringers” that we’re given to GM execs to test drive. They would be driving cars that had been thoroughly fixed up under the impression that they had just rolled off the line. Similarly, Nexus phones are about the best experience Google has to offer – stock android – but not what most consumers actually see (crapware preinstalled and custom skins from different OEMs).
While he’s right on the analogy, it’s not clear that Google cares (or even should). Android was a defensive play and as long as people are not pooled up into one dominant platform, it has been an effective one. Further, one would hope that the Moto X and Motorola represent a much stronger push to not only show what Android can be, but to actually put it in real consumers hand at volume. But time will tell.