An inevitable evolution
In hindsight, it all makes sense. No amount of optimism or wishful thinking could change the fact that Google and Lenovo have drastically different goals and business interests. Google wants to create the best possible experience for your smartphone so you'll spend more time using it -- and thus more time using Google services and the Internet at large, which ultimately helps the company makes money. So of course Google is going to focus more on long-term "delight" and user experience over short-term profit from hardware sales (which has never been Google's main game).
Lenovo, though? Like most manufacturers, it makes its revenue by selling physical products. So disappointing as it may be, the shift we've been seeing with Motorola under its wings isn't entirely surprising.
Still, Moto's fall from grace means there's a spot open at the head of the class. And I now feel confident in saying that HTC is ready to step up and claim it.
HTC's been moving in the right direction for a while now, with an impressive and ever-improving focus on overall user experience and post-sales support. It's been climbing higher every year on my Android upgrade report card and this year came in with stronger scores than ever -- an 86% overall, following only Google's Nexus devices in terms of all-around upgrade reliability. (For perspective, LG scored a 71% while Motorola and Samsung were firmly in failing territory.) HTC may earn its profits from hardware sales like everyone else, but where it differs is that it actually seems to place value on positive long-term relationships with the people who buy its devices.