Any cloud heavy desktop experience is fully inside of Google's long term plan. ChromeOS is not the last best hope for Google. They will keep plugging away at cracking open the cloud heavy desktop concept and turning it into a real market. If an Ubuntu branded dock accessible desktop experience layered over an Android kernel ends up gaining traction, Google would be incredibly stupid not to followup with a competing technology as part of Android itself. And Google is not stupid.
If Canonical gets any traction with that it at all in the short term with any OEM shipping an Android phone, its just going to lead to Google rolling competing functionality into a future Android version. Given a choice between Canonical and Google to provide feature enhancements to Android phones... who is going to win OEM mindshare a year out from now?
Any environment UI layered over an Android kernel is pretty much well inside any forecastable functionality vector for Android itself. I'd actually a little shocked if Google and OEMs weren't already talking about something similar to this for the next gen of stupidly powerful phone hardware. I'm pretty sure Google could get a more traditional linux desktop up and running if their was a market interest in it. Canonical just needs to prove to them there is interest, and then Google will steal the OEMs back. Canonical's parasitic desktop offering is in a very precarious situation. Betting that Google can't out compete you on their own phone seems a pretty risky bet to me. Maybe Canonical is at the point in the gambling addiction where they need to take bigger risks because they need to score big to win back their mounting losses.
And let's be honest about the timescales here. This is going to take a year+ to really see traction as a deliverable. Is any OEM going to stand by Canonical for the year+ to gain traction without also badgering Google and encourging them to field a competing offering? OEMs are pretty shrewd when it comes to cost control, they have to be to make any money selling devices.
And we haven't even seen developer models for hardware with this feature yet. Well other than last year's Motorola Atrix concept and its weird lapdock idea and man even I totally missed that thing when it was first announced. Oh yes that was Ubuntu powered OEM dockable desktop interface offering. And it went mostly unnoticed. The fact that we are here nearly a year later talking about what looks like the same underlying integration that we didn't find interesting last year says some remarkable things, about the market and probably about the contractual relationship between Motorola and Canonical concerning the Atrix. Are we ready for this concept this year? Or is this still more visionary than what the market is ready to actually put on retail shelves at a pricepoint people will pay for?