Google traditionally works with one handset maker to build its flagship "Nexus" Android smartphone. The Wall Street Journal says Google is looking to expand the amount of Nexus smartphones by partnering up with more than one OEM (original equipment manufacturer).
In the past, Google's Nexus smartphone was either handled by HTC or Samsung. By the time Android 5.0 Jelly Bean rolls around, Google will "work with as many as five manufacturers at a time to create a portfolio of 'Nexus' lead devices that include smartphones and tablets."
While working with one OEM ensures that Google can maintain a tight control over the entire Android experience, it hasn't led to higher install bases for new Android builds because other OEMs have been slow to keep up with the pace up updates.
The new family of Nexus devices (Asus is rumored to be working on a Nexus tablet) should drive higher and faster adoption rates for Jelly Bean — a lesson Google has to have learned from Ice Cream Sandwich's low install base.
It's also entirely possible that spreading the Nexus' association of quality could do the complete opposite of what Google is going for and dilute Android Jelly Bean to the point where fragmentation (just look at how awful it's become) can't be cleaned up.
Still, the prospect of more Nexus options on more carriers will be a good thing, I think.