Let us discuss the subject w.r.t android devices. I see there is no point in discussing propreitory offerings.
If we take the case of the nexus devices, I was shocked at the ease with which the device can be converted to meet your requirement. Unlocking the device was a "breeze". After that, sky is the limit. Indie developers flourish on the nexus devices. Yes, It is not free as RMS would have liked, but, it is an excellent start. Now, these devices are exactly at the middle category w.r.t costs and the overall premium feel. The lower end of the tablets dont interest indie devs. All devs would love to have a maximum sweep when it comes to the number and variety of users.
I though that, in fact, the situation should be the other way round. The premium ones are the ones should be completely open and allow the user complete freedom of their device. Since, the user has payed a premium, Or, If we put it in business terms, He has payed in entirety for the device and services available. So, the device has to be completely "his" to tinker with. The manufacturers already know how to get out of the loop once a user tinkers with his device by making him accept long terms and conditions especially when a user unlocks his device. So, the manufacturer cannot tell us that he is locking the device for better performance during the servicing of the device.
The nexus device since has not taken the "full" amount required for offering the product and services should have been locked more tightly so that the user clings on to the manufacturer, thereby making him returns on perpetuity. Now, you tell me this is exactly what google is doing. Eh?. Instead of google sharing returns from the device with the manufacturers, why dont the manufacturers reverse the technique by making a nexus of all their premium ones and demand perpetuity from google. How awesome would that be. I dont know why the manufacturers are going behind having cheap skins on the vanilla android. This should be allowed to indie devs. Let them come out with skins. Let them make money.
Will it happen?
It should happen. This is a pure business proposition. Not a tech discussion. This is more on the rights of a buyer. Let people/businesses concentrate on their core competency.
Let us see............