This is smart, and long overdue. Google said today that it will begin releasing an Android Platform Development Kit (PDK).
This will give Android device makers access to coming versions of Android 2-3 months before its official release. As is well-documented, most Android devices are way behind. 65% today run Android 2.3 Gingerbread which, with the release of 4.1 JellyBean today, now lags 3 versions behind.
The PDK isn’t a cure-all, but it will hopefully allow OEMs to release new smartphones and tablets running up-to-date versions of Android. This will also help them update their older smartphones and tablets sooner, too (though there the mobile carriers remain bottlenecks).