[Note: I wrote this to HP on the Palm Dev board I wanted to share it here too.]
I think the biggest thing we devs are concerned with is that the 2.x was more than just features and minor "preatys" It is a matter of dev for webos using the 2.x sdk gave us devs an audience of Thousands on Thousands of EXISTING possible customers.
Those are no longer possible customers unless we keep 2 versions of our apps going.... one branch for the 1.4.x crowd and one for the upcoming devices.
The easiest way I can think of to prevent dev and kill a market place is to PROmote backword compatability of devices that are not yet available, while preventing existing customer money to flow into the eco system.... and require the whole market to decide if your future is worth BETTING on.... it makes your product seem like a RISK. And it makes people have to THINK about if you are worth investing in...
Heck even Microsoft came out with a 2007 compatability pack so users of long abandoned office xp(2002) and 2003 could use documents in the newer format on the older platform until the newest could come out..... BRING ALONG THE FLOCK when you lead in a new direction. Yes there has to be an eventual cut off... but you SHOULDNT do it while the new solution is not yet available....
Use the arch nemesis as an example.... Apple. They are nutorious for cutting off support for older versions of OSX.... but never until there was a stable established HARDWARE upgrade path available FOR SALE IN RETAIL channels!!!
HP: suck it up... if it has to be a webos doctor kind of a solution even... we old palmers TAKE care of eachother.... our spouses, children, and neighbors who have had the "love of webos" proclaimed to them will be happy to allow us to "backup" their info and apply a new upgrade to webos to thier devices....(as long as we make sure their data is safe).... THIS would be IDEAL anyway because Doctoring the device WIPES it.... you wont have OTA upgrade incompatability or data preservation issues to deal with... and a Newly wiped device is ALWAYS faster than one that has had 1-3 years worth of "stuff" accumulated on it!
Then let the WebOS Internals people who HP just donated a sweet server with specs of LEGEND.... at it with custom kernals that will make those older devices shine for 6-12 more months while you get your new hardware in order and ready for the market.
WE ARE BEGGING YOU TO KEEP US LOYAL..... we don't want to be treated like "step children" of your new wife (palm) We expect you to open your heart and home to us and LOVE us like we were your own Children (customers).
DO THAT and you will have us not only "eating out of your hand" again... you will have us telling EVERYONE about WebOS and how great hp is..... Be the Knight on White horse Paladin Romantic Savior of Palm.... Not the Rich uncle that could careless other than to run the affairs of our dearly departed "mother" (palm) whose name you have taken off of everything except the touchstone at your feb 9 demo.... and whose name is now only a foot note on the web site other than still being at the top of this dev page (for now)