These are not all necessarily "very low cost network devices". I have the Netgear R7000 which is in the list and at the time I bought it it was one of the highest rated and most expensive home WiFi routers available. Granted, these are not corporate infrastructure level devices, but they are certainly not all "very low cost" ones either.
Apparently you have never worked in a job where you are on call 24/7 even when you only work in the office 9-5. I am a Sr. Systems Engineer, but when things go really bad somewhere, I am supposed to be reachable at all times except when I specifically am "on vacation". Fortunately, I get to use my own phone with no obnoxious company software on it.
I personally would never want to be saddled with a desktop again. I used to build fancy gaming rigs with side windows/lights/many fans, but now I have a laptop that does all I could want anywhere and I can take it with me. I mainly do development/compiling work on it as well as graphics/photo editing and high end gaming. It has an i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and 1TB spinning drive, nVidia graphics, and a 15.6" full HD touchscreen. I also have 24" monitors at the 3 main locations I use it but I can also use it in any old hotel room as well and most have flat screen TVs I hook up to.
As for the actual topic, it has 3 USB ports, I usually have a Logitech Unifying Receiver for wireless Mouse and Keyboard when traveling and a 4 port USB 3.0 hub plugged into it at home with external HD, gaming keyboard and mouse, and web cam.
The do make MANY different USB 3.0 hubs that could tie all of those stationary things together.
Although those are impressively scary looking pictures, I just thought it should be clarified that was the 2012 Nexus 7 and not the 2013 Nexus 7 the article is talking about. It looks like it had a catastrophic Lithium battery pack failure which has been documented with many different devices made back in that time frame.
I know that many will disagree with me, but I still think that the Nexus 7 (2013) was the best all around tablet ever made. I have owned 5 tablets (3 different 7", 2 different 10") and my Nexus 7 (2013) is the only one that I still use on a daily basis and I would recommend it to anyone to buy (if they still can). I just bought my mom one last month. It has been the perfect size for me, just small enough that I can easily throw it in a jacket pocket or palm it while walking down the hall to a meeting, and big enough that I can show a coworker some information on the screen during the meeting or a watch a movie on a plane. The price/performance ratio has been unmatched by any other tablet that I have ever encountered. Nice wide full HD high resolution screen and stereo speakers for movies, 2GB of RAM, plenty fast processor, and no unnecessary bloated custom software. My only complaint ever has been the lack of a MicroSD slot that 3 of my other tablets had. Due to the 4:3 resolution the Nexus 9 never interested me.
I really hope that Google will be announcing a suitable successor at I/O this year.
I don't know what the Apple Watch can do for you, but I have loved my Moto 360 watch since I got it last year. I can quickly view/dismiss notifications, appointments, and calls without taking out my phone, Track my steps and heart rate throughout the day, and many others things, plus it is an attractive timepiece with an infinitely customizable face that is far more useful than my previous watch which cost a lot more.
Apparently, and the other thing that they don't seem to understand is that if I am the type of person who would take the time and effort to install an ad blocker, I am probably not going to look at or click on their ads anyway even if I could not block them, so in essence I am doing them a favor and saving them bandwidth.
If they don't want me seeing their content without also seeing their ads, then they can just block my ad blocking browser and I will go elsewhere.
People who aren't cheap I guess? My current laptop is an ASUS with an aluminum body, a 15.6" FHD touch screen, nVidia graphics, Intel i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD main drive and 1TB 7200 rpm secondary drive. I paid around $1800 for it on 10/1/2013 and it will still trounce any cheap laptop. The only compromise I made was on the drives. My next one will have at least 1TB of SSD. I usually buy a new one every few years or so and consider it a minimum 3 year investment. If it is still useful after that time, then bonus!
It all comes to your choice in phones and if they have a locked boot loader (or an unlockable one) or not. Phones without one like Nexus devices, Google Play Editions, or my personal favorite the Moto X Developer Edition are simple to root and don't even require ROMing. My Verizon Moto X Dev has even stayed rooted through 3 Over The Air updates without having to do anything special.
Look for a "Demo Mode" in the manual. When I first got my older non-smart Samsung TV it would reset to defaults every time it was power cycled. This got really annoying really quick if you wanted to tune your color temperatures at all, but might be great in your situation.
True, I only have 700 minutes (but I hardly come close to using them), but I do have unlimited Texting as well.
Of course, they are not lowering the price of my grandfathered in Unlimited Data plan, so I guess I will just have to be happy with paying $40 a month for Unlimited Data.
By default I get texts and emails on my watch, can set reminders and alarms and text by voice, and of course answer and dismiss calls which is surprising useful with a BT ear piece. But with some good apps like Coffee I can easily send texts, with a custom face I can see my steps and weather outside at a glance (important where I live in the winter). I hardly take out my phone a fraction as much as I used to except to type long texts or emails or occasional web browsing.
The body may look like a cross between a Dalek and EVE from WALL-E, but that sensor slit at the top looks totally Cylon to me. I hope it has a single sweeping red eye.