perhaps, but the key for me is whether or not they're being transparent about it. This instance is not a big deal to me because they explicitly and publicly stated their intentions and reasoning.
What would be extremely damaging in my eyes is if they failed to follow through with their public commitment to release ICS, or if they kept doing this. I just can't get worked up over one release. The reasoning holds water, and they have done everything they said they would do so far.
And as further weight to that argument - your argument about putting 3.x on a handset - They didn't release 3.x specifically because they didn't *want* someone to put it on a handset and provide a royally effed up experience, because it's explicitly for tablets.