$1.2 billion for Palm? And what would you get for that? A Linux operating system kernel with a touch based GUI on top of that?
Don't get me wrong... WebOS looks pretty sweet. But it's not that sweet. A great system architect (they exist) combined with a great UI designer (also exist), a good standard for project management (they don't exist... but we manage) can design and implement a full Linux based smart phone platform for $10-$15 million in a year. Marketing drones should get a bunch of money to hype the hell of it during that time too. Make it exciting and mysterious.
Step 1) Decide on a language
Step 2) Decide on a GUI toolkit... no don't make one yourself you moron
Step 3) Decide on the applications you need to make it happen
Step 4) DO NOT ALLOW system level headers to be used. Everything must be abstracted
Step 5) Develop an emulator
Step 6) Develop a shell (this is the "desktop" or home screen or whatever)
Step 7) Get a team to develop each application and issue feature requests for new APIs they need.
Step 8) Polish the APIs, document the *** out of them.
Step 9) Use an iPhone or Android phone or whatever else you have on hand to get users testing it
Step 10) Change the device to make it better based on user feedback.
Step 11) Ship it
Step 12) Work on the next release
A calculator program takes a day to write. It takes a month to make great.
An on screen keyboard... easy enough unless you decide to reinvent the wheel... again.
A notes program... easy
A web browser... if you used a decent tool kit... make the UI... easy.
A clock.. easy
Power management will be an issue... not that big of one though. This was handled by Apple the best possible way... stop the applications which are not visible from running at all... then setup an event interface that allows the background apps to respond to external stimuli (like an incoming message or a timer event). Then, don't allow any apps which behave differently into your store.
The hardest part of making a smartphone platform is actually the configuration mechanism. It's not as hard as it seems though. Just requires a bit of thought. Wireless networking and GSM communication are the hardest parts. For this... it can take a few months to make something good.
Now... here's the REALLY hard part... make the thing sync with Windows, Exchange and Mac. This is a non-option. The best way to do this is simple... setup a Internet based gateway. Write a sync client for each system... and of course don't bother with the exchange... just use the Linux based exchange connectors directly on the phone.
There's lots of other stuff too... but those are apps. Like video playing and downloading (the API already does most of this for you), audio playing and downloading, book reading, etc... But this is a problem for the application developers.
In short... there's no good reason to buy something like WebOS for a billion. As a matter of fact, forking Meego or just using Android is far more intelligent.
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