The security "features" are designed to make a compromise between developers and users like you and me. So there are two options you can take. You can take the blue pill, and have XPe pre-installed, but have a locked console that you can later unlock with a card. Or you can take the red pill, and get a console with no OS, but unlocked. From the cost perspective to us, the price is about the same. However, XPe is not free to us, so we have to pass on the cost of that to users somehow, hence the unlock card.
The unlock card architecture is not designed to be bulletproof. It is hackable. Making it unhackable would be too expensive. However, I'm placing bets that the unlock card will be cheaper and easier to use than a mod. Plus, the unlock card contains some useful features for other useage contexts (I'm not saying that everyone will find it useful) that are essentially irreproduceable.
So--hackers who want to explore, they are free to explore and have fun. The security architecture of the console will be fully disclosed, I'll even tell you how you could mod it, but that might ruin the fun. Users who just want to extend the console hardware and software, have an easy path to do so from day one. It only helps me if the guys here want to slap a keyboard on this or build a beowulf or drive a toaster--I'm trying to provide hardware, other people make the apps. And users who just want to play games in a traditional model can do so too.
I'd also like to point out that this is not an iOpener because it's not sold at a loss. Think of it like a portable DVD player, when they first came out. They were larger and heavier than this, had a shorter battery life, and sold at around $1000. Now, they are *still* larger than this (the DVD format fundamentally limits your size...) but at least some of them are as cheap as $200, most of them hovering around the $300-500 price point. Do these sell at the million per month rate? no. Is this meant to sell at the million per month rate? no. Unfortunately, with all the hype these days around the PSP and DS, people try to compare it to these consoles, thinking we're in the same market they are. We aren't. The upside is if mass market starts adopting the product, but our business model is flexible enough to survive on a smaller market.