Many companies who need a Linux touchscreen graphical user interface can either design or build their own hardware, but the software is the hard part. A typical team can consist of one or two hardware designers and five to ten software people. Without software, hardware is pretty much indistinguishable from a brick. When you have to do the software, the choice is roll your own, hire somebody, or start with a complete solution like ours.
Roll your own means if you don’t already have the expertise, which many companies don’t, you need to develop a team. Developing a team takes forever and you have to know the right questions to ask to even hire the people.
Unfortunately if you don’t know what to ask, it is very hard to interview for technical ability. Also, it is very hard to manage someone where only the work product (it boots and does what we need) is understood, but the steps needed to get there are not.
The other option is to go to a specialized Embedded Linux software company like Wind River, Mentor Graphics, or Timesys and ask them to do it for you. They make it sound easy, but because they may not be familiar with the hardware you’ve either designed or bought, it can be a long and expensive process. If you are buying hardware from Vendor A and the software comes from Vendor B, each can say, “Oh, it is a hardware problem,” or, “Oh it is a software problem,” and it can be hard to avoid finger pointing.
When you get hardware and software from the same vendor you can expect much better support. Reach is one of a very few vendors that offers both hardware and software with complete support. Reach may be the only option for a smaller project (under 10,000 units a year) like yours.
Get Started with a Development Kit which includes all the hardware, software, and support you need to quickly create a prototype. When you are ready, move smoothly into production with off-the-shelf display modules that offer 5-7 years availability as a minimum.