Sure, as long as you only read comments on internet forums and never ever actually look at the phones themselves, then that opinion will remain valid... on the other hand, WP7 phones have:
- large screens (HTC 7) or smaller ones (Trophy)
- choice of memory capacity (it's just a standard MicroSDHC card, but unfortunately if you buy the phone from an operator they will make that choice for you, although you can always upgrade it yourself... if you own a Torx T6 screwdriver...)
- Standard cameras (Optimus 7) or 8mp + Xenon flash (Mozart - which also has Dolby speakers)
- Metal bodies (Mozart) or plastic ones (Trophy)
- landscape keyboards (HTC 7 Pro) or portrait keyboards (Venue Pro)
Admittedly that's not as broad a range as you'd get on Android at present, but compare it to the first generation of any other phone OS:
- Android had just one option (G1).
- WebOS had two (I think?)
- iOS... just kidding. There has only ever been one option there.
- Blackberry... OK, I'll be honest, I don't think I even remember the first generation of Blackberries... anyone?
The point you appear to have missed (and lots of people have missed it, so you're not alone) is that MS didn't "lock down" the hardware, as you put it. They simply wrote a *MINIMUM* spec level - to stop OEMs using crappy parts (which most people would see as a good thing). But MS only wrote one set of hardware drivers, and none of the OEMs bothered to write their own (which is understandble, given the unproven nature of the OS, but also explains why WP7s all use the same processor). The reason your conclusion about Nokia is erroneous is that if Nokia can be bothered to write its own drivers, it can use any hardware it likes. Thus, the "race-to-the-bottom" scenario, while dangerous, is easily avoidable if Nokia make an effort. If they don't, then they deserve to fail.