More freedom or more restrictive?
Owning a (Windows) smartphone myself I have to agree that sometimes it can be very pleasant to sit / hang on the couch and use the phone instead of my PC to check up on some minor stuff (news sites, few forums) as well as e-mail. On top of that I also get the local weather in one blink at the start screen.
As such I agree that it seems you can do more freely your daily stuff.
However, I also see another trend starting and that's where companies which exploit these OS environments no longer seem to care about the "icing on the cake" and leave that entirely to be filled in by others. A trend I'm not too sure I like. Basically they provide us less software options for the same price.
For example; in Windows 7 I have a lot of small games; patience, mine sweeper, spider solitaire, etc. As said before: icing on the cake. In Windows 8 otoh it seems as if most has been ditched; if you want some of that stuff back you'll just need to use the marketplace to fill in the blanks, which you only can access after you registered of course. Blanks get filled in by 3rd parties, /not/ Microsoft. So MS can basically reduce costs on this part.
My old phone (Samsung Jet) provided some basic stuff; calculator, unit converter, picture viewer. My new smartphone provides some of these programs too but a lot more minimal (even though its actually more expensive than my old phone). Most of the solutions I had to grab myself from their marketplace. Some was setup by MS but a lot was 3rd party software.
As such I also foresee a trend where companies would encourage us to like and use these more minimal environments because it means that they can save a lot on software development by simply dumping a lot of its parts and letting 3rd parties fill in the blanks. Better yet: in case of Microsoft they demand 3rd parties /pay/ in order to gain the right to fill in these blanks (whether you're making a free app or a paid one; you still need to cough up for a developer subscription).
Sure; these changes are rather small now. I mean; who misses out on a few games (Win8) and who cares about having to download stuff from a marketplace (Windows phone / Android) because it also gives you more choice and diversity ?
Well; its all small now but what if they continue to enforce such market places on us? "You buy windows 7 and you have desktop programs (text editor, calculator, paint program, etc..). You buy windows 9 and you get nothing of the sort; only /after/ you register with Microsoft do you obtain the right to get some free programs from their market place".
And of course; the price of the OS will have remained the same.