Yes, it's always difficult to make large expendature decisions like that. And people have to make the choices they make. Point is one has to ask the question what benefits RISC OS more buying a PC with WindowsXP/VARPC/RISC OS or supporting native ARM hardware like the Iyonix ?
Once you transition to Windows you make yourself dependant on MS continuing to maintain Windows in such a way that VARPC will continue to be supported. Would you like to wager that that will *always* be the case ?
By supporting native hardware you take that doubt out, I (frankly) worry about the longterm viability of RISC OS if its future becomes inextricably linked to Windows. Will someone at some point (for example) suggest that VARPC/RISC OS 4.XX allow direct WinAPI use from within the emulated environment - perhaps even dropping support for RISC OS running on real ARM hardware (after all what's the point if all it's ever going to do is be run on a PC ?).
It's a dangerous path, but its an option some people seem to be prepared to justify - but I ask one question - is it worth jeopardising the future of RISC OS just because one version of RISC OS has rounded buttons and a graduated background and another does not ?