May I add my own thoughts? Not rants, but just listed.
First, thank you Paul for all the effort on this. I understand your wish to move on.
Second, Gigabyte are not an unknown/minor/never heard of company. They are well known in the computer hardware world as motherboard and graphics card manufacturers and also make other computer peripherals. And they also have their own branded smartphones, just they're not seen on the UK market. (I've no axe to grind on their behalf.)
Third, I don't think it would serve any point going direct to either Intel or Gigabyte. They have contracts with Orange which will probably have included full specifications of the phone, including this non-bootloader unlocking. Therefore any provision by Intel or Gigabyte to allow us any means of getting round this issue would likely mean they would be in breach of contract with Orange. Gigabyte probably aren't concerned one way or the other about this restriction (apart from contract breach) but Intel almost certainly are. It's their baby and they (think they) know best how to bring it up. We disagree with them, but it's their choice.
Fourth, I appreciate that people like Paul may have a need for an unlocked/rooted/etc phone to run certain apps, but surely not everone on here regards this issue as a "deal breaker"? In its own right, the San Diego is a good phone, even ignoring its low price. The general consensus on the net and several reviews I've seen say so too. I was glad to get rid of everything orange on my SF (thanks again Paul), and have a clean version of Android 2.3.7 on it in the end, but although disappointed that I can't (yet) do the same with the SD I'm not going to get too upset and lose sleep. After all, I still have a fairly good looking phone, a decent camera, it plays flash, web browsing is fine. And it's good as a phone too. Having set my own desktop wallpaper (a picture of the Eagle Nebula, my daughter's studying astrophysics!) and installed a few apps of preference (Smartkeyboard Pro, Dolphin, etc) I can I can put up with the bloat and simply ignore the Orange stuff.
Fifth, I can't comprehend the lack of ICS at launch but at least Orange are making a firm committment to ugrade, unlike their vague intimations in the early days of the SF.
Now, what's Microsoft's new tablet going to be like to use?...