According to FOSS Patents, a blog that is documenting and summarizing the current patent war going on in the mobile market, Google has (had) plans to give early access to companies that make lead device concept for it. Specifically, it named Motorola and Verizon in the court documents.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, Google does play favorites. And now that it has an Android hardware division, it stands to reason that a corporation will side with one of its own rather than allow let a competitor gain any kind of an upper hand. In Android's instance, that would be Samsung, Sony, HTC, and LG, the four biggest Android makers.
And even if Google argue that the leading model, the Nexus phones, were all made by HTC and Samsung, those that never get picked to make such a device would never get the OS ahead of anyone else.
Well, that's what how I've interpret the Nexus phones as, lead device concepts.
At this point, how one wants to interpret this is irrelevant. Android device makers have no choice but to take this information and do what they have to do: protect their own corporate interests.
One option is to diversify. Windows Phone probably has gained a lot of attention from OEM makers since Google's Motorola announcement. There are other options and it's a matter of whether anyone of of them has the vision to pull it off.
Google and Android as are the crossroad where going about business as usual is no longer going to happen. While Google has not necessarily pushed its partners away, it has at the very least got Samsung and the likes to seek other more permanent solutions.
One such idea is something I think will gain traction in the coming year. Forking. Purposeful fragmentation of the Android platform and for these companies to develop their own Android variant in the ways Barnes and Noble did with their Nook and Amazon will do with its own Kindle tablet.