And this is why I got an Android to read on...
I have an iPad, but I'm not so sure that it's the device more than it's the software and DRM.
I think you're right there.
My wife has an iPad, and we got that for her well before I got my tab. But, it was just far too difficult to use for me as I absolutely refuse to install iTunes, and anything that I'd want to put on it was on my Windows machine, and I'm just that pig-headed and stubborn. If I can't plug it into any old box and use it like a USB drive, then I'm not going to be happy, and nothing other than full access to the file system will make me happy. And I certainly wasn't going to install a piece of software to fix what for me was a fatal flaw. So, I was very unimpressed with the iPad as I really only wanted to read materials that I downloaded and that were DRM free, e.g. I buy a good number of books from O'Reilly, and really enjoy their DRM-free books - they have me as a loyal and repeat customer.
But there's no reason at all why the iPad couldn't be the way I want -- so you're 110% right -- it's the software & DRM, not the hardware. But, phones, tablets, and phablets are pretty much locked to whatever OS they come with. I'm sure there are people out there hacking away, and can run whatever they want on <insert device here />, but... for consumer-level, human, non-uber-geek purposes, the OS becomes a major decision.
This whole thing just makes "app stores" all the less attractive, because that kill switch is built in there, and they do use it. Apple, Amazon, MS, Google, Samsung, whoever. Not so sure I really trust many of these guys. Amazon, Apple and MS are the most dangerous there, I think. Google? Not so sure they're that bad. Samsung? We'll see. Their app store isn't that popular yet. Others? Sigh... Who knows?
But being able to sideload - I think that's a big deal.