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MS anncounced that there won't be seperate version for RT, Phone and Desktop anymore in the future, so this may not be entirely true in the (far away) future.
 So how do they run the same applications if the machines run on separate architectures?
Don't know maybe they are creating a new layer that abstracts the libs from the hardware
Well, it's possible to do with sane overhead, see for example Java (They already have their CLR for this). If they control the hardware-facing libs with DirectX and WPF interfaces there's quite little overhead involved. That is until they release some NDK and make everything non-compatible again :)
But surely the ARM version doesn't?
No, exactly the contrary. UEFI really is a hard requirement on ARM, only on x86 it still remains optional ( => Wikipedia article on WinRT). UEFI is not just a BIOS replacement, it's so stuffed with mostly useless features that it already is some kind of OS running underneath the actual OS - Intel did already receive the usual flaming from Torvalds for its utterly broken design.
No, MS won't do anything like that. It just runs down on using the same name for everything and making them look more similar.

For platform-independent stuff there's C#/.NET and scripting languages like JavaScript (used e.g. for tile apps).
what are the pros and cons of owning a Pandora/Pyra besides high-end smartphones and ultrabooks ?
For me the main advantages of the Pandora/Pyra are:

- All-day battery life (for most days)

- Gaming controls. A touchscreen is nearly useless for me to play classic/emulated games requiring precise input.

- Usable keyboard. I really dislike touchscreen keyboards.

- Linux, because I love Linux

- DRM free

- A thriving but not-too-large community where I can contribute my own design suggestions, my own software ports and maybe someday my own software

- Audio output good enough to hook up to my main HiFi stereo and use as my primary music player.
Microsoft is using a virtual machine approach for Windows RT applications (probably using some variation of .NET), similar to the Android approach with Java.  Note that, generally, Android applications run on not only ARM phones and tablets, but also Atom (x86) phones and tablets and MIPS tablets as well (although there are a number of apps with performance code targeted at ARM processors).  They announced this when they first released Windows RT and Windows 8, which could both use Windows RT applications.  They also said that Windows Phone apps would eventually be compatible as well.
I'm convinced.

From now on, I'll only be considering getting a 3G one to replace my aging Wave II.

If you don't know about entry-level Samsung : Bada is a software desert.
This is something I've found my Pandora (or, rather, its battery) lacking at.  It can get along during the daytime just fine but for only about 4 hours of constant use (attempted calibration about three times) but it only lasts two days in standby. 
Have you tried a different battery?, on a full battery I still generally get over 8-10 hours of constant use even on a three year old battery depending on what I'm doing.  on standby I've had it last well over a week.
As TrashyMG suggests, that's unusual indeed. All 3 of my pandoras don't have any battery issue. Even with really old batteries. 

I guess it's either a calibration problem, or the battery zev's using is almost dead. 

Here's an old thread posted by a user who has a similar problem; you should have a look. 

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