I think we have to be very wary of marketing Windows PCs with emulators as RISC OS computers. It's very misleading - many people associate RISC OS with ARM *hardware*, and that a RISC OS computer is free from the grasp of complexities and morals of using Microsoft and its operating systems - which is what we pay a premium for these days. I would expect at least to see Virtual-RPC listed in the specifications, which isn't always the case at the moment. I hope Trading Standards never have to get involved with this.
After all, the RISC OS emulator is just another piece of Windows software - could I market an Iyonix as a BBC Micro if it came with !BeebIt preinstalled?
VRPC has an important role to play in the future of RISC OS - as a cuckoo. I'd certainly appreciate using it at work (for a while in my old job I regularly used Draw with Red Squirrel for producing diagrams). But as a RISC OS hobbyist I wouldn't choose an emulator machine, because it loses too many of the benefits the native platform offers. Yes, the GUI is important, but there's much more to the Acorn magic than that, and I just don't get the same exciting feeling when an emulator machine is announced that I did when the Risc PC, the Omega and the Iyonix were announced. Isn't that a big part of why we're still here?
It's also rather dispiriting to rely on another operating system (indeed, one which many RISC OS supporters have been so disparaging of) to deliver the goods that ultimately we /could/ do ourselves. The emulator solution is an easy short term short cut, but (apart from the hard work of Graham) it's not inspiring the same commitment or reflecting the same investment that Castle and Microdigital are putting in.
I see an emulator machine as a meat-and-potatoes offering - it does the job fairly cheaply in the right situation (we are yet to see the long term effects of this - wait until the underlying operating system goes a bit flakey, or for the next major Windows virus to hit the streets) but it doesn't have the same scrumminess that the native hardware has.