The device-specific forums have always been kept clean of 'off-topic' chatter i.e. topics unrelated to the device(s) themselves. They have never been social hubs, and I'm vehemently against encouraging them to be so now.
The Lounge and its subs is the correct place for all non-Android chitchat. It could be argued that designated "watering hole" threads are unnecessary when members could simply create their own topics as desired, but the decision was made. It was by no means a universally popular one, but Gmash is correct - the intention was to encourage members to venture out into the wider AF community.