I also think it would be too late... but if it does happen it there is always the chance it could bring some new development.
Trouble is:- I run a Sigmarion 3. It uses CE .Net 4.1 (not WM or PPC). the interface is just like a windows front end with touch screen.
To give a rundown on hardware. CPU - Xscale 400Mhz (will overclock to 530Mhz), 64Mb ram, 32Mb rom, 800x480 5" TFT, 8Mb Ati Imageon 4200 grfx chip, qwerty keyboard, SD card, CF card, USB host and slave, mic in, headphone out.
On this device I can;
* Play a video encoded in Xvid at 1400kbps, 800x480, 25fps with and audio track of 256Khz MP3 or AC3 sound.
* I can browse with Pocket IE5 or Picsel Browser (Opera Mobile will be working on it soon and is supposed to be very fast). I have flash7 on it.
* I use Qmail3 (full pop3/imap including secure mail and html),
* I have a word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation software
* I have a full set of PIM apps that look like the full outlook versions
* I can use Wi-fi, bluetooth, GPS, 10/100 etc..etc...
* Other software I have:- realplayer, skype, claculator (good one), voice recorder, SMS software, sync mobile's phonebook, Messenger and there is lots I can't remember at the moment, Remote desktop Protocol.
Lastly though - It is instant on, stable, 5-6hrs battery life (4hrs on wi-fi), partially transflective screen, the browser will run flash7.
The Sig3 was sold untill 2003 (IIRC) so I puts things a little more in perspective as to where our hardware is.
Now the above isn't a dig at Risc OS it is just an example of the hard fact that in a lot of ways RISC OS has a lot of areas where even PDA's (HPC's) are a lot further ahead. Now there are some advantages to RISC OS as well desktop publishing apps, photo editing apps, art apps etc. where the software is actually of desktop quality and very good indeed but a mobile device these days for most users has to combine PIM, media and internet duties and in a lot of cases GPS as well as anything else it does. The market would also be limited as I doubt this will bring any new users to Risc OS who would want to buy software it will really only sell to current users and maybe people recently out of the market who were waiting on such a device.
There are even a good number of other strongarm based Handheld PC's (as the clamshell CE PDA's were called) that have flashrom and can have the rom re-flashed by the user and would be a great device for a port. NEC 900C, Smartbook G138 (7" 800x480).
I think the big opertunity Risc OS had (and I think the Xbox and Playstation3 and other consoles have also really missed out on) Is the humble old cheap home computer market. How many RISC OS based set top boxes were sold? I belive it was in the millions. They were basically computers and with the addition of some small extra hardware (network port, keyboard/mouse and an HDD) would have made a super replacement for the market that the amiga, bbc etc, used to fill (and as people were buying the set top box anyway would buy it for the set-top box abilities).
people are building media PC's now (still the problem is it's a software OS, It crashes and has slow boot times - well for a consumer device that sits below a TV it does). So if Castle gets to the time when it can use and release this media playing work they did then would the next Risc OS computer not maybe take the form of some sort of Home theatre media player? Surely the market here is still large and it's not a market where people are pre-disposed to wanting an OS by microsoft. But if the mediaplayer happened to come with the ability to do some browsing and install some software as standard it could bring people intrested in buying software to the Risc OS market who otherwise would know nothing about it and wouldn't even give it a go otherwise?
So basically a media player that would handle video, music, have a DVD slot etc. with a nice front end but with the ability to access an OS desktop to use some basic office/internet software (and maybe even an RDP front end so customers can remote their PC from the telly - got to add features that will make it sell and diffrent from the competition and the RDP ability would surely be a good selling point). Now castle are in the set top box market so if they could make the next generation development hardware and consumer hardware a development of a set-top box type arrangement I am sure it would keep the manufacturing costs down due to the volume of boards made in the STB/media player market. Ok so expandability is limited but a USB port should take care of the ability for at least some future expansion.
Not sure if anyone else thinks the same but I think Castle are really the only global player with the STB work they have done and if that is what they make and specialise in then I can see it as the only route left to get Risc OS into a large number of homes with hardware Castle is comfortable with. It's also the only market I can see where the majority of people don't have this kind of device yet but I think most people will so there is still a large market to play for.
Now if the media player works and increases the market it would make a Risc OS laptop/PDA type devices and new and better software a viable project as there would be a number of people intrested in taking the same desktop as the media player came with out and about with them (even if there are a few holes in the software portfolio though hopefully they would quickly be filled if there was a market - I bet oregano 3 would be back on the cards and appear very quickly).
I can't see another route here at all. Every other route I can see is really only going to sell to current Risc OS users and pretty much nobody else and what we need is a route to get hardware into a large number of homes to actually grow and improve.
either that or we need a really really bad virus that actually wipes millions of peoples data and renders loads of PC's unworkable for an extended period of time causing companies and people to eveluate what they need from a PC ok so that's just wishfull thinking.