What a crazy year it's been for our little Vivaldi tablet project. Lots of ups with Plasma Active developing by leaps and bounds, with version 3 coming out this month and many of our efforts starting to improve our other form factors such as Desktop, and so much learning with regards to the state of the hardware world in Asia.
With our chosen hardware, we dealt with the completely typical (for the industry segment) GPL violating company which we negotiated with to change that ... only to have them simultaneously renig at the last minute and, while introducing a new revision of the board not only break our prior work but noticeably decrease in build quality. This was a massive, massive set back for us.
We didn't give up immediately, but kept banging our collective head against that particular wall until we exhausted all rational options. We began looking at various other options in the meantime for hardware production. It's been a grueling few months, which at one point was one contributor to my health generally failing forcing me to take a number of weeks away. (I'm feeling very good and all in one piece again, in case anyone is wondering. :)
Armed with the things we've learned from our first go-around, we began exploring the Asian manufacturing world again. I've noticed a few differences this time: first, I'm able to ask the necessary questions a lot more effectively, and as a result get rather better answers. I'm also able to read between the lines a bit more effectively as I learn the business lingo of this sector's culture, which really also helps.
But recently a really eye-opening thing happened. One person I'd been working with previously contacted me, said they had recently moved to another company that also produces the sorts of electronics we need and started with "... and we have source code."
This was the first time I'd had a company at this level in the game approach me with that line. Are we, collectively, getting through to them? Maybe. One person, one company, one effort at a time.
I'm not going to say anything about the hardware we are looking at using. Last time that didn't turn out perfectly, so this time we'll wait a bit longer before sharing that information ... though I expect that when we start sending devices around to people for demos and engineering work that it will still come out. :P Anyways ... what a ride, but we aren't done yet.
In fact, that is a question I've had to stare down a few times: Is this worth doing still? In times when things look completely bleak and you've just had your most recent negative answer handed to you, that question pretty much finds you without you going looking for it. I've found my answer to it has shifted over the last few months. For a brief period of time it was, I'll be honest, "No, it is not worth doing." I hated that answer, though .. it felt unnecessarily wrong. So I dug more and the combination of seeing that the tablet space is still very much open (with all sorts of speculation about Android's position in it, Apple's ability to keep a death grip on the space, the rise of Amazons and others, etc..) and the reaffirmation that if we don't make open devices who will, I feel it is more important than ever to keep going.
After all ... someone came back to me and started their sales pitch with ".. and here's our source code." Halle-fucking-lujah.