Connecting social media together, I use google+ for pictures, my friends use snapfish, FB, and other services, why can we not pool across platforms, why do i have to download and upload,
Because they're competing against each other. Collaborating as you describe is like giving information to "the enemy". Never gonna happen as it would be against each company's fiduciary duty.
I have outlook for skype, google for android, whatsApp, lastFM etc etc why can i not manage my contacts in one place and have a single list of contacts with duplicates removed in all accounts.
Again, because they're competing against each other. That includes Google who's in the best position to unite the contacts, but since some of the apps you list are competing against Google...
Defo want a laptop i can use indoors and out where the battery lasts a full working day.
Depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to play movies on it all day, you'd be talking a battery so big it feels like you're back in the days of the suitcase computer. It's physics dictating this; live with it.
Defo want a phone with just an OS and let me decide what SW to install
You can rule out Apple and Google, then. We can pray for Sailfish, but then again, while Linux has made ground in the backroom, there still isn't a consumer-level Linux distro that can penetrate the mass market. Thus why Microsoft is still in control. IOW, the only companies that can penetrate that market can't be trusted to keep it clean.
If i buy a VW and Apple have shoehorned in their media services, i want use my Android phone in said car not an iPad and vicsa versa.
Only way around that is to not buy a VW. If Apple and VW have a contract, you have to take that into consideration. The contract makes it a Hobson's Choice: Take It Or Leave It.