I think the modern-day model that works best is the one where any company or university interested in being at the leading edge of technology invest in participation in international forums. Because I agree that attemtping to wall off outside "influences" can only result in falling behind in your domestic industry.
There are simply too many smart people all over the world. Cannot be helpful to ignore all the ones outside one's own borders.
"While the Android system is open-source, the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google,"
Since Android is opensource, Anyone can create their own roadmap.. like Amazon did. So whats the problem with too much dependency?
*Which* GUI? There are a number of them, and which default you get will depend on the distro you run.
I run Ubuntu, which defaults to a new interface they designed called Unity. I wasn't thrilled by it, and because it's Linux, I had alternatives. I prefer XFCe4, but Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment and a number of others exists and can be used.
It is very difficult to believe dependency on Android is a bad move. Relying on Google's support to build a device might be.
The computer industry has become more open for years. Embracing open source is widely adopted. What Chinese's firms have to do is to be able to make their own device w/o any help from Google. In addition, they shall focus on developing apps. If they don't like Android, there is Ubuntu (generally speaking, Linux) to choose from. If GUI wasn't ready, put their hand on it to make it attractive. Really! In today's world, if OS is widely available from source code level, why spending extra effort to re-invent an OS? Efficiency is very important.