Some people might think AOSP implies Chinese devices for use in China. However, this isn’t necessarily so. From a developer perspective, I am also finding I am using forked AOSP more than previously, especially where a vertical solution needs to use a particular device. More recently I have worked on health, hospitality and consumer electronics solutions centred around particular AOSP devices.
How does AOSP development differ? First of all, you can’t use any APIs that require Play Services. This includes things such as the maps, push notifications and in app billing. You obviously also can’t use the Play store for distribution. A more serious limitation, for me at least, as been the lack of developer support. In particular, no ADB drivers to allow debugging on some devices. I have also previously written about non-conformant APIs.