As a consumer more options are supposed to be a good idea. We've got some nice OS's with iOS, Android, WebOs, and what ever the RIM OS is called.
So Apple and Rim are producing their own devices while Google is allowing their OS on other manufacturers devices and lastly HP with WebOS who have stated that they would be open to talking with people about them using WebOS.
But as a consumer who doesn't like to follow hardware specs for every device that is coming out or is planned for the future. I'm starting to get confused about which Android device is the newest. So my thinking goes something like
"Mmmm which device should I go for?"
"I could get an Android but wait will these devices run 'Honeycomb' when it comes out when ever that is?"
"I can wait till September and get the next iPad or go for the Playbook from RIM when its available."
Since Apple and RIM are producing their own devices they are responsible for backward compatibility for future OS updates. With Android unless you buy your device outright I believe (and I could be wrong) that you have to wait for the teleco to allow you to have the latest OS update. Lets be honest the telecommunication companies want you to buy a new device not upgrade the current one. I had a Apple 3G for nearly 2 years before I got rid of my mobile. I was always getting my phone upgraded every year which was tying me to the company for another year and it was the first mobile that I didn't want to upgrade and that was because the manufacture was updating the OS and giving me effectively a new mobile on each upgrade "Oh shiny (slightly scratched) new toy"
The bottom line is that with Apple and RIM as a consumer I'll know that I have the latest device from them with Android its like the PC market "Which is better? screw it I'll go with a brand its all the same shit anyway!"