That's true, there's less fragmentation than in Linux, but it's still there. If every phone just ran stock ICS (they're STILL doing overlays, sheesh!) things would be a lot better.
That doesn't mean OEMs would be releasing updates faster. The actual problem with fragmentation is device drivers, which is what Google is trying to solve giving OEMs earlier access to the new platform with the PDK.
They should do the same with DEs. Would have been better for them to stick with Gnome than to have Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Lubuntu. That's unnecessary extra support work for them.
Canonical? Probably, but then I don't see them spending much time on those other distros. All their development is focused on Ubuntu.
So Canonical went out to Asus and asked them to build hardware that was known to work flawlessly with Ubuntu or?
I don't know how Canonical approached Asus, but they can provide a comprehensive list of certified hardware, they can provide support and they can help with any questions the OEM might have about the deployment.
Canonical has been in talks with OEMs for quite some time now, and I'd think that has something to do with them releasing laptops with Ubuntu and not Fedora or Suse.
Even Ubuntu at the time had problems though, I remember deliberating between Ubuntu, Knoppix and PCLinuxOS because each one had its own flaws that were quite annoying that the other distros had solved perfectly. It's not like there was a good Linux distro back then, at least not unless you were lucky with hardware combinations, and that was an issue with the community's work.
As a OEM you shouldn't be releasing a non working product and expecting anything but failure. It's up to them to assemble hardware and software together and make sure everything works.
If some of your product's hardware isn't working either get in talks with the developers to get it fixed or just don't release the product at all.
The community can't test a distro in every possible hardware configuration. You can blame devs if you download a distro and it doesn't work for you, but when it comes to OEMs it's their responsability to work with the devs if they really intend to get the product out.
I guess I was lucky with the Acer One since everything worked when I installed Ubuntu.
That also brings up the question of why people feel they need to make ****ty distros that are forks of a much better supported one.
Because they can, but that doesn't mean that anyone has to use those or even pay any attention.
If they were all self contained apps it wouldn't be so much of a problem, but Linux has layers upon layers of dependencies.
Anyone can release statically compiled packages, the problem is you would have to keep baking releases for every update in each of the statically linked libraries or else your product would have flaws that have been already fixed.
Anyway since dependencies are sorted out automatically by the package manager I don't see how that's a problem.