I have a new idea for a hardware product. Unfortunately, I only have experience with software and would only be able to develop the software side of the product. I have no idea where I would start. Obviously, I wouldn't want to develop this product myself, so I would need to find some company that makes hardware.
Would I tell my idea to same large hardware manufacturer in hopes of getting paid for licensing my idea? (What prevents them from stealing the idea and developing it themselves?)
Would I find a small hardware product that can develop a prototype, get that working and then go to a large hardware manufacturer with my idea? (I'm thinking the prototype shows that the software portion is already finished, and so rather than them stealing the idea and developing it themselves, which could take time, they would want to buy a working version from me.)
Would I partner with a small hardware company and begin developing these small scale (e.g. sell them through my website), and only if I start getting a lot of orders think about either getting investors or selling the idea to a large hardware manufacturer?
Regardless of the method, I would need to find a company that can make this hardware. This is perhaps my biggest problem since I don't know what search terms or resources I could use to find such a company.