He's a programmer, and an honest man. So when he finds something he likes he says so, without artifice, and that's all it means.
Apparently Linus has the same problem my son does (along with millions of other people). Directions are not his strong suit. So for him, Google navigation was a killer app.
Trouble is, in many ways Linus Torvalds is not "just a programmer." He's a brand name. He is, however reluctantly, a celebrity. So a simple blog post can read like an endorsement.
Put it this way. If Steve Ballmer picked one of the many Windows Mobile phones and said, "this is the one I like," other makers of Windows Mobile phones might be upset. So he doesn't.
Linus just did.
Google is trying to build a competitive ecosystem in Android, and Android is not the only Linux-based system in the mobile space. It's like saying which one of your children you like best.
If you want to go the full paranoid on this one, you could even call Linus unpatriotic. After all, Motorola has staked its future on Android, and here he is making nice with a device from HTC, a Chinese company! (I know. Motorola has had its stuff made in China for years.)
This is as crazy as Jay Leno appearing in an ad for David Letterman's TV show. It's inconceivable! (I don't think the word means what you think it does.)